Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Day at Vacation Liberty School

Day begins with sign-in
I went to the second day of Vacation Liberty School Tuesday morning to shoot some video. It will take a little while to produce the video, but I also took a few pictures which you see here.

First, as I reported earlier, Vacation Liberty School (VLS) is an educational program that leverages a Vacation Bible School model to teach children in grades five to eight about American history. The program uses role playing and games as well as classroom lectures and discussion groups to deliver the curriculum. You can learn more about the VLS program at the St Louis VLS website.
The "Narrator" and Reverend Thomas Prince
After sign-in and "homeroom" the students attended a re-enactment. The Narrator provided context to the students while Reverend Thomas Prince spoke in the Old South Church in 1746. This setup a later classroom discussion about the importance of the clergy leading up to the American Revolution.
Instructor in Revolutionary Period Dress

During the Revolutionary War, the Christian clergy of the United States who supported the war were known as the Black Robe Brigade. The agitation of the Black Robe Brigade for the rights ultimately protected by the Bill of Rights inspired many Americans to take up the cause against Britain.

The VLS Central Banker
Details of that history were reviewed in the classrooms after the historical role playing. One important aspect of the classroom activity is that students are rewarded for participation. If they answer a question they get a "nugget". Those nuggets, which happen to be Jolly Rancher candies, are a critical component of the economic lesson that runs through the week-long course.

Nuggets are something with intrinsic value. However, they can be traded in to the Central Banker for paper money. Tuesday morning the Central Banker was offering one "dollar" per nugget. Now, the dollars can be used to buy toys at the VLS store. This sets up a simplified economy that the children have an interest in understanding so that they can try to figure out if they can "game" it.

I wonder if the Central Banker will change the nugget to dollar trade-in ratio later in the week.

Here's my full slide show from Tuesday VLS:

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