We began Unit 7 today with one of my favorite lessons: The Fishing Lab. It used to be called the Candy Fishing Lab, but recently I have become more health conscious and switched to using goldfish. Not actual goldfish. I mean the Pepperidge Farm crackers. Yuck! That would be gross.
The goal of the lab is simple: survive until the end of the game. But accomplishing that goal is not so simple. Each “day” students walked up to their group’s “fish pond” and took a few “fish.” What they don’t fully understand was that their pond works just like one in nature; the more fish they took, the fewer would be left behind to reproduce. On the first attempt, most groups fished their ponds to extinction. No fish for you!
However, after they were educated about how the fish reproduce, most groups got it right the second time around. Taking just one fish each day, students were able to survive while allowing the fish in their pond to repopulate. Needless to say, there were a lot more smiling faces afterward. The lesson was clear, using resources sustainably requires education and teamwork. This lesson can also be applied to real-world problems like over-fishing, littering, and deforestation. And it’s a great introduction to tomorrow’s lesson: The Tragedy of the Commons.