Lesson Seven: Create Your Own Society

Students will consolidate the ideas learned across this resource to create their own shipwrecked society.

FL1(c) - Predict the consequences of a society without laws.

FL1(j) - Debate criteria for just laws and systems of justice and apply to scenarios and case studies.

1. Fiction has created many famous castaway societies. William Golding’s dystopian novel Lord of the Flies and the lighthearted classic television series Gilligan’s Island are just two examples. BBC in the United Kingdom and ABC in the United States have also created “reality” TV programs about castaways. As with most fiction and “reality” shows, such tales reveal some truths about human nature, and such tales perpetuate some falsehoods about human nature. Think of these or other portrayals of castaway societies, and compare them to what we have learned about shipwrecked societies.

• Can any one work of fiction or “reality” series be considered an accurate microcosm for how society operates? Why or why not?
• Can any individual shipwreck be considered an accurate microcosm for how society operates? Why or why not?
• Why is it valuable to gain as many perspectives as possible on how successful societies can operate?

2. Review the successful and unsuccessful societies across this resource. What factors helped make some societies work? What factors contributed to the failure of other societies? At what point are laws required to guide a society? To help guide discussion, discussion ideas from each wreck could include:

Méduse and Julia Ann. How can a foundational tone can set a society on a path towards success or failure?
Batavia. Are societies at risk of falling to dictators? Why must power be spread amongst all people?
Doddington. How should societies share their wealth?
Grafton. Is absolute freedom possible?
Grafton/Real Lord of the Flies. Are written constitutions foolproof? What role does human decency play in society?
• Other questions that span most wrecks could include questions asking why do successful societies care for people’s health; how do education and cultural activities contribute to human development; what can a society do about conflicts and wrongdoers; what role does hierarchy play in a society; why is safe shelter a key need for every society; and/or how does cooperation contribute to societal success?

3. Research has shown that hope is a key element for the survival of shipwrecked people. How can a society foster hope in its members?

4. Break students into group and distribute “Island Simulation: Create your own Society."

Island Simulation: Create Your Own Society


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