Method or activity in detail

EPIZ - Globales Lernen in Berlin
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Name of the method
FishBanks Simulation Guide
Short description
FishBanks is an online multi-user simulation to explore the management of a marine fishery. Students experience the difficulties of managing a renewable resource, seeing how short-term goals can interfere with long-term success. The tendency is for teams to overfish, not realizing the long-term problem until it’s too late to reverse the diminished fish population in time to save the fish or their companies from bankruptcy.
Target audiences
16-18 years
Minimum number of participants
Maximum number of participants
Climate justice

Identification of how decisions impact individual teams and the larger system as a whole, design and justification of policies to minimise negative human impacts on the health of the marine ecosystem.

Global Reference - Choose SDG's
12 Responsible consumption and production, 14 Life below water

Step 1 Preparation (15-30 min):

Prepare the simulation by following the instructions in the technical guide for setting up classes, familiarize yourself with the simulation and decisions students make, copy handouts (optional), divide groups into teams of two to four.

Step 2 Introduction and Community Creation (30-60 minutes):

  1.  Describe the project, rules and requirements by using the Intro Slideshow.
  2.  Have the teams meet to set up their company.

Step 3 Running the Simulation (120 minutes):

  1. Give students their record-keeping sheets.
  2. Have teams place their company’s table tent in front of the group on the table/desk.
  3. Project the Intro Slideshow from the second “teacher computer” and go to Slide 8 to show the log-in procedure.
  4. After all teams have successfully logged in, continue going through the Intro Slideshow, as students complete the first round from the main Dashboard (Figure 3) and submit their decisions. Refer to Running the Simulation in the Technical Guide as needed.
  5.  After a couple of rounds, make sure that students are accessing all the tabs near the top of the main screen to view available data (Figure 4) as they make decisions.
  6. Continue running the simulation until the fish populations are depleted in both the coastal and deep-sea areas. This typically takes about 10-15 years (rounds) in the simulation, usually 1.5-2 class periods. Refer to the Technical Guide as needed.

Step 4 Debrief the Simulation (60-120 minutes):

  1. Have students complete their graphs to show their assets over time. Based on the table data, they’ll need to determine an appropriate scale for the y-axis.
  2. Debrief the simulation experience using data from the simulation and the debrief slideshow. See also the Debrief Questions to Consider and Assessment Ideas on the next pages.
  3. One highly recommended aspect of debriefing is allowing students to run the simulation again, using policies they designed in Handout 5. The class can vote to decide what policies to implement in the second run. Running it a second time can go very quickly since they are testing a very specific policy. See examples for completing Handout 5 below.

Step 5 Assessment Ideas (duration varies):

  1. Self-Assessment (Handout 1)
  2. Community Creation (Handouts 2 and 3): Teams create a community that is supported by the fishing industry.
  3. Simulation Documentation (Handout 4) Students track their assets over time during the simulation. After debriefing, students reflect on the success of their company and the impact on the fish population.
  4. Connections (Handout 5): After the simulation, students identify cause and effect relationships.
  5. Leverage Plan (Handout 6): After the fish population crashes, students identify how to prevent the tragedy of the commons.

Introduce questions to consider for self-assessment of the group (processing what happened):


Self-Evaluation Questions for the Group:

1) What happened to the fish and the companies over time? Consider financial success, health of the fishery etc.

2) Which team had the highest total assets at the end? Why?

3) Did any teams have a negative balance? Why?

4) If the fish population crashed, whose fault was it?

5) What were the benefits and trade-offs of different strategies for fishing and boat ownership?

6) How were company goals seemingly in conflict with sustaining the fish population? Considering Leverage Action.

7) How could you improve the results for the fish?

8) To what degree are those ideas reasonable within a real-world context?

9) How could you save the fish and create economic success for the fishing companies?

Adaption for other target audiences
Additional document
Additional remarks