Our Junior Model UN Club for Homeschoolers Begins with Games and Activities
SEPTEMBER 13, 2012: Junior Model United Nations for homeschoolers began with hugs and smiles between old friends and hearty welcomes to the new arrivals. While everyone was arriving this video of all the flags of the member nations set to "We are the World" was playing. I mentioned that the 67th Session of the General Assembly were about to begin at UN Headquarters in New York, and showed them the trailer for it, which got a few giggles for looking just like a movie.
We briefly went over the structure of the UN, how many member states there are, the Secuirty Council and the five permanent member states. This packet, published by the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia is a great resource. I polled the class about the Junior Model UN Conference, and they unanimously expressed a desire to participate.
The bulk of the class involved a number of games to spark global awareness, and highlight the kinds of obstacles involved in getting nations to discuss issues peacefully and effectively. First, each participant was given a card containing one example of a global problem the United Nations works toward improving, and they were asked to describe the objective without using any of the words on the card. (Similar to the game Taboo)Some issues, like assisting refuges and promoting gender equality were hard to describe, while others such a disaster relief and poverty, were already familiar to these homeschoolers.
Now that we had a vision of the United Nations in our heads we explored why and how communication between different cultures can be difficult. I paired up with the students and role played various communications, while the rest of the class tried to guess what communication barrier was affecting our conversations. We covered discomfort making eye contact, requiring a small or large amount of personal space, assertiveness and passiveness, and truth as fact versus truth as relative to the situation. Continuing with role playing, we moved on to a couple of large group communication scenarios. Response was good, and they explored options I hadn't thought of. I anticipate a lot of weekly role playing with this Model UN group!
For our final activity, I passed out a photograph to each student. Half of them had a picture of a communication problem, and the rest an image with cultural significance. Each was asked to look at the picture independently and write down what they thought was happening. After they shared their interpretations of the photographs in there own words, we briefly discussed words that would be used to draft a Model UN resolution.
Lastly we discussed running our class as the United Homeschoolers of Talking Stick in which we make ourselves the Security Council for class issues that will be addressed during last 15 minutes of each class. During our first session we voted to make all ten of us permanent members, and agreed upon on a super majority to pass class resolutions.
Please note: the 67th Sessions of the General Assembly began on Tuesday, and they have live webcasts!