Resource 

The Game of Social Life: A Multidimensional Poverty Simulation

Abstract:

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Understanding structural factors in social life is one of the top learning goals of a course in sociology (Persell 2010). Still, students often react defensively to discussions about structural inequality (Davis 1992; Watt 2007). Simulation activities may be a means of creating a safe environment for engaging people in these dialogues (Dorn 1989). This TRAILS Resource presents The Game of Social Life, a poverty simulation board game designed to motivate individuals to reflect on and discuss concepts of social stratification based on multiple dimensions of poverty. It combines the benefits of a budget exercise with the benefits of a social stratification board game (see Abelev et al. 2008; Coghlan and Huggins 2004; Fisher 2008; Garoutte and Bobbitt-Zeher 2011; Jessup 2001). The Game of Social Life differs from other stratification games, however, in that it focuses on multiple dimensions of poverty related to housing, education, occupational status, social power, and health (Alkire 2013). Importantly, the activity is designed to be complex enough to capture multiple dimensions of poverty, but simple enough that it can be completed from start to finish in three hours of class or training time. This document provides the resource materials for The Game of Social Life. For an empirical assessment of the activity see Bramesfeld and Good (2015). Specifically, the included Facilitator Resource Document provides a description of each aspect of The Game of Social Life, including the (1) character profile, (2) budget exercise, (3) interactive board game, and (4) guided discussion. The Facilitator Resource Document also...

Details:

Resource Type(s):
Class Activity 
Author(s):
Kosha D Bramesfeld, Ryerson University 
Date Published:
2/23/2015 
Subject Area:
Stratification/Mobility 
Class Level:
any 
Class Size:
Small 
Language:
English 


Usage Notes:

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The Game of Social Life is a poverty simulation board game designed for use in small group settings. It is ideal for environments in which there are fewer than 30 players per facilitator. Room space and configuration is required for participants to play the board game. The room should be...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Describe structural factors that contribute to poverty.
Assessment 1:
Responses during a written reflection assignment and/or students’ verbal responses during the guided discussion can be used to assess students’ ability to describe structural factors that contribute to poverty.
Goal 2:
Question assumptions of meritocracy and individualistic explanations for poverty
Assessment 2:
Responses during a written reflection assignment and/or students’ verbal responses during the guided discussion can be used to assess students’ ability to question assumptions of meritocracy and individualistic explanations for poverty.
Goal 3:
Evaluate the role of economic privilege in one’s own life and in one’s own society
Assessment 3:
Responses during a written reflection assignment and/or students’ verbal responses during the guided discussion can be used to assess students’ ability to evaluate the role of economic privilege in one’s own life.

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The Game of Social Life.docx
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