Teach the Earth > Teaching Methods > Role Playing > Role-Playing Scenarios by Type

Role-Playing Scenarios by Type

Only a few of the following examples are actually ready-to-run in an undergraduate classroom, but they will provide inspiration and materials for your own role-playing exercises. Many of the scenarios, characters, and assignments need a few added details, which will enable you to tailor them to your course.

Introductory Exercises

These activities involve little preparation on the part of students and can be highly scripted. Often, they involve getting the students out of their seats and simulating their characters through movement (active learning). They are often a great way to introduce a difficult concept.

Individual Exercises

These projects can be done by individual students working apart and often conclude in a paper or a presentation done from a character's perspective

Interactive: Collaborative Problem-Solving

Students assemble in teams to work on a task set by the professor. Often, these tasks are open-ended: i.e. determine whether we should open the Glen Canyon dam and periodically flood the Grand Canyon. Debates (especially over strategy and "correct" answers) can occur spontaneously within a group.

Interactive: Debate

Perhaps the most popular among students and faculty, these exercises involve the students taking roles of people whose interests in some scientific issue conflict. The pursuit of a compromise often gives these exercises collaborative problem-solving elements.