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Shanty – The Game

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With jelly baby children to protect, the Year 10 GCSE Geography students had to consider what life would be like living in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro and build a shanty dwelling to protect their family. Each group of students had to build a rain proof house using items they found in the “rubbish tip” which was only open for a limited period of time and was subject to closure without notice. If they failed to meet the rules they were sent to prison.

The students have been studying urban change in lower income countries and newly emerging economies such as Brazil. Once the groups had built their shanty dwelling they took them all outside to subject them to “rain & a landslide” to see if their family would stay safe and dry.

Two students wrote about the lesson. “The shanty game was a fun way to learn about the challenges that people face when building their homes, and in this case, Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. The aim of the game was to create a waterproof house from cardboard and plastic to protect the people– jelly babies. However there were challenges which included your house being doused, lack of birth control and disease. Afterwards we then analysed the game which allowed us to see the challenges and how they   affected living standards there” Tim Baldwin

“The aim of the game ‘shanty’ was to get us to consider what life in a squatter settlement is like. We had to make shanty houses out of the recycled materials from the ‘dump’. This dump opened and closed throughout the game and in there were pieces of cardboard and plastic bags. We had to make our house rainproof and house the 6 members of the family (jelly babies). Throughout the game Miss Alder gave us cards about what was going on in the settlements and what has happened to our family. For example, one card said that our family was caught in between two gangs and was hurt- therefore two of our family members got their legs bitten off! It was a fun way to learn about life in the squatter settlements in Rio de Janeiro, and helped us to gain an understanding of the issues the people face in their lives” Charlotte Hood