Creating the Characters
The Conflicts in Chemistry team recently finished one of the most extensive writing assignments necessary for the project: the creation of the character role sheets for the Case of Plastics. Four of us combined to write a total of 33 unique role sheets, each of which provides a participating student with a character to play in the game.
Each character enters the debate with a different perspective on plastics, allowing us to introduce important points of view. Each role sheet outlines the character’s viewpoint, goals, and motivations. The background and biography explain how a character arrived at his or her particular positions and offers suggestions for how that person might approach this hearing.
Most of the characters are inspired by real-life people who have made impressive contributions to the plastics conversation, though all roles have been fictionalized for the purposes of the game. The four authors drew inspiration from a number of sources for the characters’ biographies and accompanying anecdotes, and each character is unique.
However, some commonalities did emerge. Many of the characters we created found their cause or calling at an early age and pursued it with unerring diligence. Furthermore, they are all exceptionally accomplished people. Among the role sheets are stacks of patents, inventions, law degrees, Ph.D.s, M.D.s, precocious achievements, and people with intense and driven natures. These characters represent the best and brightest in their fields—exactly the people who would testify at an EPA hearing.
Though the roles come with a history, they do not come with names. Students will be asked to name their characters and find props to help them embody their role during game play. Below is a sample role sheet we created for the game. What would you name this character? What prop would you use?