UN SimGame: Gamification of Model UN (Part 1)

I love simulations. Creating a situation for students to navigate through that involves a small amount of chance alongside decisions they must make to accomplish a goal or task are things that students remember. I make them work in small groups, and then in larger groups. I create scenarios where students compete against each other, and there is no way that everyone can earn full credit… but the worst you can earn is a 70%.

And that is what I have done to the Model UN. And it was fun!

So lets start with the similarities with the Model UN:

  1. Every student represents a country. Student have to create a Country Profile with factual information from the CIA World Fact Book.
  2. Students will work in committees to create a UN Resolution to solve a specific problem.
  3. Students will provide a speech in front of the entire UN General Assembly outlining their resolution and asking for support.

Now lets discuss the gamification:

  1. Students are also assigned a modified Millennium Goal that they need to solve. This work will happen in small committees over the course of a week, and then similar committees will be combined during our UN SimGame. Students will have two hours to discuss, create a single resolution, and prepare a speech outlining their plan.
  2. Students are given economic goals to complete. Each student is given an imaginary sum of money based on their state’s GDP. Students will use their money to purchase carbon credits (discussed next) and also “fund” their resolution projects (discussed later).
  3. Students are informed of the Carbon limit for pollution. If they are below the limit, they may sell their Carbon Credits to states that pollute. If they are above the limit, they must purchase Carbon Credits from smaller states. There are more Carbon Credits available for purchase then are required by polluting nations to buy, so some states may choose not to buy or sell because of some historical bias (Israel-Middle East bias; colonial-imperial history) or because of sanctions imposed by the Security Council.
  4. Students will vote on resolutions after all the speeches are complete. But students must provide a required amount of money with their votes, as an indication that they agree to follow the steps spelled out in the resolution. Some states may not be able to vote in favor of all the resolutions. If a resolution does not receive 50%+1 votes, that committee will not earn points toward the simulation.
  5. After voting is over, resolutions that did earn 50%+1 votes can now collect additional funds from states. Each resolution requires a different level of funding. The simulation is designed so that their is not enough money to fun all resolutions, so depending on the prices required, 1-2 resolutions will fail to gather enough funding. These resolutions will not earn enough points toward the simulation either. Students are encouraged to make deals with other states in order to pass their resolution and collect enough funds.
  6. There is at least one event that occurs during committee work that requires the UN Security Council to meet with states that have become aggressive with each other or to deal with a epidemic. In either case, sanctions are brought against multiple nations and they are pitted against each other. This causes uneasiness in voting and can cancel deals, or change how Carbon Credits are bought and sold.

So this is the premise of the SimGame. I will provide further details and a run down of how the game actually played out the first time in future posts.

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