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The Chocolate Trade Game

From Ghana to Nova Scotia

Secondary

Description

The Chocolate Trade Game is role-playing game that allows each participant to experience what it might be like to be part of the cocoa trade. Participants learn about fair trade by acting out the various roles in the process from growing beans all the way to the chocolate buyer.  All 'role' descriptions and game pieces are provided in the resource as well as a number of excellent discussion questions for reflection and debriefing.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resources teaches students how to analyze the economics of the chocolate production chain and apply mathematical skills to judge how people profit along the chain.

Strengths

  • The role playing is a fun and unique way of introducing the concept of fair trade
  • There is plenty of background information including web links
  • There is an accompanying PDF with role playing game cards
  • Good background information for students is provided
  • Materials that are needed are indicated with the game cards
  • The activity was originally written in 2006 and was revised in 2008

Weaknesses

  • The activity lacks an icebreaker or a set induction. The introduction notes could be clearer and more effective in connecting the issue to the students lives
  • Market concepts need to be explained in the introduction
  • Could be clearer in the manual that each group will have to make a product i.e. link the manual more effectively to the accompanying PDF
  • There are no assessment tools included

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Alternative Globalisation
    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Economics (2)

    • Poverty Reduction
    • Trade
  • Human Rights (2)

    • Poverty
    • Social Justice

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory

This activity presents an excellent example of social justice and sustainable agriculture.  Environmental perspectives are not sufficiently represented.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory

The economics of fair trade are clearly presented here. Social justice is inferred as a result of the role playing.

However no discussions are provided around health issues in a farming situation or concerns about soil conservation improvement. Little consideration is given to the natural environment. 

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Satisfactory

The complexity of social justice is incomplete. There is no effort in the role playing to address environmental health. There is also no discussion about marketing/promoting fair trade chocolate's contributions in protecting wildlife habitat.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The role playing really helps students understand internalize social justice issues with buying agricultural products from poorer countries.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

During the debriefing period students have an opportunity to express their own perspectives.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

This activity does an excellent job on highlighting social justice for farmers in poorer countries.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory

This activity is obviously limited to social justice for humans.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Satisfactory

The activity dives right into the activity without an icebreaker or attempt to connect the issue to the students' lives.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Poor/Not considered

This activity focuses on the present.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

This activity allows students to draw their own conclusions. There is ample time and a number of good suggestions for debriefing.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

This activity incorporates economics, math and to a lesser extent art and oral communication and presentation skills.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

Students are provided with many debriefing questions that encourage students to make their own discoveries.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

While it is not explicit in the activity, there are many opportunities where an experienced teacher can help direct students to appropriate learning tasks.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

While not truly an authentic experience, the simulation approaches real-life experience.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

While the opportunity is there for cooperative learning it is not explicitly taught.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

There are 30 minutes set aside specifically for reflection and discussion plus additional follow-up activities but is lacking assessment tools.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

Incidental teaching arises only from activities among students while they are role playing.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

Role playing provides a near true-to-life experience.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

The students are free to interact with others during role playing. Additional supplementary activities that provide opportunities are included.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.