Facilities Simulation

Simulations that require a little more preparation as far as facility and props go fall into this category. Sometimes the facility is a simple one. A classroom can quickly be turned into a setting for a Continental Congress meeting or a courtroom for a trial. Usually, an enormous amount of effort doesn't have to go into preparing a setting for an educational simulation. Still, the more realistic the setting, the more likely the participants are to "get involved" with what's happening. Having the proper furniture -- or furniture as close to appropriate as possible -- makes the simulated courtroom trial that much more engaging for participants.

Major airlines maintain permanent and very sophisticated simulation training facilities. It's just far too costly and far too dangerous to train in sophisticated airliners for real. In a school setting, you're not likely to build simulation devices quite that sophisticated, although the University School flight simulator -- constructed of plywood and salvaged parts -- is a unique example of a slightly more sophisticated simulation device. It's not Boeing's 717-200 simulator pictured at the right, but it does provide a more "realistic" feeling. You can see more of this simulator at http://www.us.edu/flight

You can create a simulation area as complex or as simple as your time and resources allow. Thankfully, most students have good imaginations.

Costumes And Props

Even if you can't create the simulation area of your dreams, you can create the illusion well with props and costumes. Although you'll probably have a most successful lesson if you simulate the Continental Congress without costumes, it's easy to imagine how significant costuming can be. Younger students in particular will enjoy wearing costumes. And again, the dramatic, the more realistic your simulated educational activity happens to be, the more likely what you're teaching will be remembered.

Props are yet another way to create illusion. A student with a quill pen and nothing else becomes a member of the Continental Congress. A student in a coat and tie becomes a lawyer in the simulated courtroom. A student in the dress of a Nigerian diplomat becomes a Nigerian diplomat.

If your simulation is really important or will be repeated frequently, you may find that you can slowly build a collection of props and costumes to use year after year. The great thing about simulations is that they have a way of growing (and growing on you).