The game worked like this: as emperor I would float a proposal before the class, something like, ‘Bridges need to be built.’ Each country would read through their Latin text and decide if a bridge building plan would benefit their nation. Once each group had decided we would have a discussion as a full class where those in favour would debate those against. I controlled the debate using a blow-up-globe and senators could only speak when holding it. As emperor I naturally wanted a full debate and so would reward groups that came up with good arguments with denarii. And some of the arguments they came up with were fantastic and I’ve included a selection below:
For ‘bridge building’: Building bridges will allow our armies to move across the empire faster. We will be able to trade easier.
For ‘war with Greece’: Greece is a rich country and we can steal their Gold. Going to war far away will mean we are undefended.
For ‘New clothes for the farmers’: Better clothed farmers will work better. Other nations that see how well dressed the farmers are, and will think we have high culture.
Once the class had finished debating they would re-converge in their groups and decide if they were still going to support or deny, and if they were going to support, how many denarii they would give to enact the proposal. This was the really fun part as the children had no idea how much it would cost to enact each proposal. If the total denarii given reached or exceeded the desired amount the resolution would pass. For the bridge building proposal, Spain with its many rivers, received a large amount of denarii, and all other proposals offered some benefit or penalty for certain provinces. As emperor, however, I chose to reward other groups with denarii for translating their Latin correctly, offering vote changing arguments, or being good senators: such as speaking clearly, standing when speaking, or for good sportsmanship.
I had originally designed the lesson with ten proposals, not knowing how long they would take but the children enjoyed the debates so much, and were so good at it, that each proposal took over ten minutes, meaning we only accomplished five of the ten. As the main point of the lesson had been to teach them volo + the infinitive (they had to declare their intentions in Latin ‘Volumus aedificare pontes’), I plan to continue the debates this week but create a more complex series of Latin texts. As it is their final week of real lessons I want to use it to test how well they can translate a complex unseen passage.
Also, I am very much looking forward to taking on the role of Emperor again!
Witten by Michael Flynn, 2 April 2014