Case of Plastics Test Run: Day I
By pure chance of schedules, at the same time that I am helping develop the Case of Plastics, I am also teaching a college course in American environmental history. Fortune has provided our project with a windfall of 25 students, all capable, engaged, and interested in environmental issues: in other words, an excellent test group for the very first run of the Case of Plastics.
In preparing for the test run I deliberately followed the Case of Plastics Instructor’s Manual—the same our pilot teachers will use—step by step, hoping to weed out problems or identify omissions. No major problems arose as the students received their roles, accessed their materials, and learned what was expected from them in the first phase of the exercise. Seeing the students adopt their characters and discuss the issues involving plastics was an enjoyable first step. They spent a class session meeting in their interest groups to prepare their presentations and arguments for the debate on the regulation of plastic.
A collection of the props employed by students to represent their characters.
But the project became fully realized when we left the classroom and moved to a large auditorium down the hall. It was in this new space (as suggested by our Instructor’s Manual) the students engaged one another fully in the debate about plastic that we have been working to prepare. But that is the subject of the next class and the next post.
It’s one thing to plan a project on paper and in meetings. It is something else, something much better, to watch it happen live.