9th Grade Human Geography students completed a 3-day Model United Nations Simulation this week on the topic of climate change and the ways in which countries can work together to 1) decide how best to respond to this climate crisis and 2) help countries most impacted by climate change. This assessment caps our political geography unit and provided a means for students to explore the ways countries interact with one another diplomatically to find solutions to global problems.
Each student in a class was assigned to represent a member country of the United Nations Security Council, an international non-governmental organization working on issues related to climate change, or a prominent individual invested in the issue. Students then simulated a meeting of the UN Security Council, in which they presented policy statements reflecting their respective views on the matter, as well as actions currently being taken to address climate change and some recommendations for consideration by the member countries of the Security Council at large. They then formed groups and drafted resolutions in which they presented their shared visions of a collaborative way forward to best address the climate crisis (or not, depending on their point of view!). Finally, students reviewed and debated one another's resolutions and voted on their passage. With 9 votes needed to pass a resolution and veto power held by the Permanent Members of the Security Council, consensus was a hard-fought goal.
As a result of the simulation, students not only developed their research, writing and persuasive public speaking skills but they also gained valuable experience and insight into collaborative problem-solving on an urgent, real-world issue. Through debrief and reflection, many country delegates acknowledged the challenges they faced seeing eye-to-eye when they represented sometimes very different perspectives and were responsible for considering the best interests of the global community without compromising the political and economic best interests of their own countries. We are proud of their struggle and have renewed hope that this generation can break through those barriers!