Observing Module 5B- Camp Planning

April 21, 2010
By George_Bixby

Last Friday some of us went to the Red Cross HQ to observe a group of high school students participating in module 5B of the curriculum. These students had actually signed up to go to the Red Cross HQ every Friday afternoon for a semester to go through the entire EHL curriculum. Having not been in a highschool environment for many years, this was a great opportunity to observe how young students engaged with this subject matter, and to see which parts of the Camp Planning module they responded to. Since Kris, Julynn and I are creating a game inspired by Module 5B, I think it was critical that we witnessed this first hand, and I think it definitely effected the way we are moving forward with the game.

In this case module 5B was being taught over the course of three weeks, or approximately three hours. For the most part, the lesson consisted of Jenny (the teacher leading the lesson) handing out reference/support materials and asking questions to spark discussion. Most of the questions revolved around the logistics of setting up a camp, and Jenny did a great job making sure that many of the considerations involved with running a camp were touched upon. ¬†However, rather than me trying to explain the nature of the dialogue, if you are interested I would check out the video above. Even just from skimming through you’ll get a good sense of how the lesson was run, and how the students reacted.

What I took away from this was that the students were interested and engaged, but it did take a concerted effort from the teacher to mediate the experience. I think one of our objectives in designing our game, is for it to take over some of that role, inspiring students to ask questions and discuss amongst themselves when a teacher may not be able to guide them through it. There was another teacher present at the lesson, and afterwards, in response to a question I asked about how much information is too much information, he responded that the main point was to get students to ask questions, not provide them with all the answers. His point was well taken- disaster situations are often extremely complex, and the point of these lessons isn’t to allow students to learn the ins and outs of sanitation (for example), but for them to walk away with a better understanding of the many considerations that must be made to maintain a camp.

One Response to “ Observing Module 5B- Camp Planning ”

  1. Nigel on April 26, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    George – I think you’ve got it exactly right with the focus statement you made at the end of this post: the key is to get students understanding some of the many considerations that must be made in setting up and running a camp. Sanitation etc are just individual bits. I really think that the “protection” and other “soft” issues are going to be the unusual takeaways for kids. Those with a practical bent might get interested in the water source spacing etc, but issues such as why people are displaced and how they might have suffered/suffer are really important to raise, and affect how camps are planned and sustained. That’s a great conversation to try and facilitate alongside the more practical and pragmatic operational issues.

    Though there are issues with it, it’s interesting to consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in the context of a camp: food and water yes, but also education, social interactions etc. Some of which will be actively provided by the camp management, some of which will emerge, hopefully with useful facilitation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs