Survival tactics

3rd March 2006 at 00:00
A new game called Bunkered presents citizenship students with hard choices, explains Dorothy Walker

The earth-shattering news - planet Earth is on a collision course with an asteroid. Who should be allowed in the bunker? This is the first of many big questions posed by Bunkered, a new adventure game that explores the key themes of citizenship in a series of 20 thought-provoking lessons.

Developed by Aspire.more able, Bunkered gives Year 10 students the chance to role-play their way through the citizenship curriculum. The objective is to survive the asteroid, escaping death and going on to deal with the daily dramas that confront the micro-society holed up in the bunker. Students face challenges ranging from administering first aid to finding ways of tackling crime.

The company has successfully used the adventure-game format in school-based science events. Teachers can run their own Bunkered sessions; the resources are offered as computer-based PowerPoint slides or as a copier-friendly book. Matthew Hackett, founder of Aspire.more able, says: "Many teachers dread doing citizenship. Often they are nominated to cover it as an add-on."

The scenario is already being played out in a group of Lowestoft schools, where Bunkered is being used to encourage creative thinking.

After a calm start spent researching and listing the professions they consider to be most important, students are stunned by news of the asteroid. They quickly re-appraise their list - farmers and carpenters tend to appear from nowhere as key candidates for the bunker, and each pupil assumes the role of a character who has to argue the case for their right to survive.

The adventure continues with the group formulating government strategy for breaking the news of the impending disaster, and assessing the trade-off between safety and expense in the quest to save as many lives as possible.

Once inside the bunker, the characters are faced with a series of crises on a number of topics ranging from drug and alcohol addiction to the nature of human relationships.

While much of Aspire's work is aimed at the gifted and talented, Matthew Hackett says Bunkered can be used with a wide range of ability groups.

"Each lesson carries an ability grading and we also suggest different ways of approaching a particular task."

* Bunkered PowerPoint presentation pound;85 (pound;50 at the show) or Pounds 30 for the book Aspire.more able Stand B36 www.aspire-ma.com

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