School | Earthquake Simulation

Although school has been in session for a week, we didn't hit any curriculum until Tuesday. I've been working in classrooms in one way or another for the greater part of the last five years and Tuesday was definitely a highlight!


We teach IB curriculum at SPH and that involves teaching through inquiry. On Tuesday, we gave the students a scenario in which there had been an earthquake in Jakarta which was subsequently followed by a tsunami. Because of these natural disasters, the school was made unstable, which forced us outside and all communications with the outside world were cut. The students were tasked with making a shelter and then working for their meal. The results are as follows and were quite entertaining to say the least!


We began the morning by heading out to the field, collecting materials, and creating shelters. The students were divided into groups of six. Each group was allotted three bamboo poles and a role of duct tape, along with unlimited cardboard boxes and plastic trash bags.


This particular group below made me chuckle. They began with a moment of brilliance when one group member suggested taping the tarp so that it ran into a box so that they could save the rainwater. This line of thought greatly impressed me, especially considering the fact that my students are 8. However, I got my first chuckle when I revisited the group a few minutes later. They had added several boxes to the exterior of their establishment and when I enquired about them, they told me that they had to have a safe box to keep all of their things in (even though their posessions had all been washed away in the tsunami).


After building shelters, the students were given a brief reprieve before heading out into the workforce. Students were given a sum of RP 10,000 to start with. In order to earn more money, students could work as taxi drivers, toilet attendants (because that's a profession here), trash collectors, and chefs.


But, they could also pay to ride a taxi or watch a movie.


With the money that they had after the work period, the students were supposed to purchase their lunch. Some of them quickly learned that playing on the computer for two hours probably wasn't a good idea! The students were served a typical Indonesian lunch of rice, tempe (fermented soybean chips), tofu, veggies and krupuk (similar to a rice cake)


After lunch, the students were dismissed to free time in their settlement. Some played house while others improvised and made a soccer ball out of cardboard and duct tape.


Among the first of modern conveniences to spring up in the shanty town were the arms dealers and the black market. Their stock was comprised of knives, swords and quite impressively machine guns.


We shut down the settlement in the early afternoon to head back to the classroom for reflections. Most of my students have a personal nanny and an entire household staff so it was interesting to hear their reactions to doing manual labor and working for food. With the year starting out like this, I can't wait to see what else is in store!