For my first practicum, I had planned to use the game "Islands" in my cooperative
games unit. With the current overwhelming popularity and interest in the Titanic, I
adapted "Islands" and created the cooperative game "Titanic." This game is very easy to
play and students were repeatedly asking to play it again in later lessons. Prior to the
activity, two objects or places on the floor need to be designated, one as the Titanic and
the other as the rescue ship. I suggest using 2 or 4 benches for each ship because it allows
students to physically be on a "ship," making the game more realistic. In the game,
students are passengers on the Titanic and just like in real life, the student's Titanic has hit
an iceberg and is rapidly sinking. The object of the game is for all the students to escape
from the Titanic to the rescue ship, using the lifeboats (hula hoops) to cross the freezing
water (the gym floor). The only way to be in the freezing water is to be inside a lifeboat
and once there is someone inside a lifeboat, it cannot be moved. Students are not allowed
to touch the freezing water outside of the lifeboats and anyone who does so is sent back to
the Titanic to start over again. This is all the information students should be given. To
stimulate problem solving, students should be given the opportunity to discover how to
travel from the Titanic to the rescue ship. There is, of course, only one way. Students
must travel in the lifeboats in a rotating fashion, therefore needing a minimum of 2
lifeboats to travel. To travel, an empty lifeboat must be placed in front. Without touching
the freezing water, students move forward and inside the front lifeboat. The rear lifeboat,
that should now be empty, is then picked up, passed, and moved to become the new front
lifeboat and the process in repeated. This is where problem solving comes into play.
Depending upon the ages and number of students, there can any number of lifeboats.
With fewer lifeboats there is more problem solving as students must decide who will travel
to the rescue ship first. However, with enough lifeboats for all the students to fit into
there is more cooperation and teamwork when moving forward and passing the rear
lifeboat to the front. I recommend trying the game with your students several times, each
time using a different number of lifeboats to generate a discussion and reflection of
strategy, strengths and weaknesses, and what could have been done differently each time.
Finally, to add to the mood and realism of "Titanic," I played the soundtrack from the
movie in the background, an addition that the students loved. I hope your students will
enjoy this cooperative game as much as mine did.