The Case of Plastics Test Run: Day III
Ursinus College students present their new regulation and argue for its adoption in The Case of Plastics second-round debate.
Even after a successful first debate in my Environmental History class’s test run of The Case of Plastics, I felt some apprehension about the second debate. The second debate is where the results of the intersession come to light—the results of student efforts to create new regulations. This is the phase of the game with the most contingencies and open possibilities for the players, and therefore holds the most uncertainties for the designers. Adding to the uncertainty was the fact that while this phase would be more supervised and structured in an “official” version of the game, I allowed my students to meet, deliberate, and negotiate over the weekend, outside of the classroom, and away from my line of vision.
The Regulators review and discuss the new regulations during the second-round debate.
Again, seeing the debate happen brought relief. There were no major roadblocks or impediments that kept the exercise from working, and the students demonstrated a great deal of learning about plastics. I regretted not having more time for the day’s exercise, since a genuine and passionate debate was stirring among the students just as it was time for the Regulators to call an end to discussion and render their verdict. The level of engagement and learning that I saw was promising, and now I’m eager to see the game take place in the high-school classes.
Students answer a question from the Regulators and engage with the other groups about the merits of each regulation.