I taught a class Microscope Scenes with the Great Gatsby today (Link). It was very entertaining to watch and feel free to browse the videos.
What was more interesting was the feedback. When asked “What is at least one insight you gained about the characters inside the novel Great Gatsby?” they wrote:
-There all crazy especially Tom and Gatsby.
-They are extremely selfish and money hungry.
-They are very superficial and one sided.
These answer generated amazing talking points about the roaring 20’s and the life of the rich that students did not get as much from just reading the book.
When asked “What is one insight about the characters or the story that you might include in your analytical essay?” they wrote:
-The rich people are protected
-That a part of the gender roles, females that marry rich just assume they can get whatever they want.
-I might use the dangerous atmosphere masked in class in my essay.
These answers led to discussions further about wealth and what it does to people and discussions about Gender in history and how it effected people.
Though the line that brought the most discussion about wealth and inequality in Role Playing was this line when they were asked “What they noticed about themselves in the Role Play.” One student wrote, “I felt richer but not classier”. That was the point where I knew this game succeeded. They understood on a base level what class can do to people. that money changes us, but baseness of people still stays the same. It lead to a discussion about an episode of Hidden Brain (link) where they interviewed the Financial planners of the rich today and learned that it’s not much different then the rich of long ago. It lead to discussions of Gender, Power Dynamics, and so much more because students understood them better since they were the characters.
The rules for a Great Gatsby version are in the link above and we included Lines and Veils because the subject matter risked going adult, which it did. It was a success for sure and I hope you like the videos of it.