How would you govern a society? Who would your leaders be? How would you choose them? What kinds of rules would you create? Would you be more concerned about providing freedom or creating order? What would you do about people who refused to follow the rules? How would you protect the most vulnerable?

Such questions strike at the core of the law in our lives. Because these questions are so foundational, they often spark the most passionate debates. History has shown that there are very few “right” or “wrong” answers. However, history also has shown that some answers are better than others.

One way to consider these questions is to examine the approach taken by people stranded by shipwrecks. Recent books such as Nicholas Christakis’ Blueprint and Rutger Bregman’s Humankind have devoted chapters to these ideas. As well, there are a host of books that examine particular shipwrecks, including the logbooks and memoirs of shipwreck survivors. Such resources help us understand that the difference between life and death often depended on how the castaways governed themselves.

With this knowledge, PLEA created Shipwrecked. Written to set teachers on a path to fulfill most of Foundations of Law 1 (FL1) Indicators in Saskatchewan’s Law 30 curriculum, this resource will guide student conceptions about systems of law and the very idea of justice. Six shipwrecks are presented across seven lessons. Each lesson includes instructional procedures, student handouts and activities, appropriate background information, links to learning resources that augment the lesson’s law-related concepts, and links to many primary sources of material about the shipwrecks in question.

Teachers looking to fulfill the remaining four FL1 indicators (f, h, k, and l) not directly approached in this resource can check out PLEA’s Law 30 Resource Portal. This ever-expanding directory provides links to PLEA resources that support Law 30 indicators.

Of course, no single learning resource can provide all the answers. PLEA encourages teachers to use Shipwrecked as part of their broader approach to the Foundations of Law Indicators of Law 30. And because all learning resources can be made better, PLEA encourages teachers to share thoughts about Shipwrecked! What worked? What could we do better? Drop us a line. Your insights will help improve future PLEA learning resources.


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