As we ended our History unit, Medieval life and Legends of the Middle Ages, students were given the unique opportunity to see the difficulties of daily life of ordinary people by playing The Seventh Expert. This interactive story game allows students to step into the lives of the surviving citizens of the town of New Haven, after a horrific sea storm essentially drowns the community. A number of real world decisions need to be made in order for the community to move on and survive.
Secondary students formed small teams and set up their scoreboards with a point system, to begin the game. They enjoyed reading the story chapters which outlined a particular challenge the survivors faced and afterwards the team decided together what course of action to take. Survival of the New Haven community and its citizens depended on what each Secondary student team decided to do. The outcomes were also decided by chance, by rolling dice. This gave the students the sense of “no control” in an imaginary world where they worked hard to make sure their characters survived. Student teams might face The Black Plague, war attacks on their lands and a bad harvest, leading to possible famine.
In the end, not all the Secondary teams “survived”, or won the game. The Seventh Expert requires students to carefully plan ahead, work well together, to make wise decisions and take risks when necessary, to survive difficult events. Indeed, these are all the same skills people used in the Middle Ages.