Nel and our class were divided into two groups. Each group was instructed in a new and different way of living. Our class was called the Alpha Culture, Nel's group the Beta Culture.
The people in the Alpha Culture are fun loving, superstitious and honor their elders. People in the Beta Culture are hard working, businesslike, foreign speaking, and do not like to be close to one another. Once the members of each group have learned the rules of their new culture, observers were exchanged. Observers "travelled" to the other culture and tried to learn about it by listening and watching.
The visitors came back bewildered and confused by the strangeness of the foreign culture. With their notes, they reported back about the habits, communication (verbal and non-verbal), rituals, etc. of the other culture. Next, we sent half the class to the Alpha culture to try to "fit in." Some students found it frustrating while others saw it as challenging and exciting. Sound familiar...just like traveling to a foreign country, huh?
This simulation lays the groundwork for our next unit of study. Over the next few months, we plan to ask our students to consider various perspectives when we investigate exploration, colonization, revolution as well as the meeting of European and Native American cultures.