Game Planning: How to Ask the Question

Controversial and far-reaching, the topic of plastics generates an endless amount of debate and opinions. Over the years scientists and advocates have raised questions relating to the production, use, and disposal of plastics, from their persistence in the environment to their potentially harmful effects on our own bodies. However, the societal benefits of plastics are numerous. Cheap, durable, lightweight, and readily available, plastics have allowed for remarkable advances and fueled the growth of many industries that might have stagnated without such a versatile building block. Today, plastics are so ubiquitous in everyday life that most of us cannot imagine a world without them.

Stage 1: Brainstorming of three possible main ideas.

As we research plastics and develop The Case of Plastics, we find no shortage of passionate voices on every side of the plastics debate. In order to give voice to all these perspectives we needed a program model that included as many perspectives as possible. To this end we have developed a gaming model where students role-play as stakeholders from five separate interest groups. Each stakeholder will argue his or her position, attempting to persuade other game participants and influence the vote at the game’s conclusion.

Stage 2: Initial thoughts on interest-group interaction and game structure.

But what question should we ask? How do we find a question big enough to represent the range of concerns but not so large that it becomes unwieldy or overwhelming? These questions have been the subject of several intense brainstorming sessions over the past several weeks. The images displayed here reveal a bit of the process as we considered many possible questions and narrowed the selection down slowly into an ever clearer picture of the final game.

Stage 3: Breakdown of main interest groups with their primary goals.


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