Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Abandon Ship!



We just did an activity based on the real life events that were portrayed in the movie Abandon Ship! (1957). The activity helps to understand the different levels (macrosociology and microsociology) that sociologists study and the Social Construction of Reality. On the macro level, sociologists look for the large-scale groups that people are a part of. For example, students in our class are Americans, teenagers, high-schoolers, from an upper-middle class suburb. All of these groups have an effect on an individual, so that even when an individual makes choices alone, he/she is still being influenced by these groups. On the microsociological level, sociologists study how groups interact in face-to-face conversation. That is who makes eye contact, how loud people speak, where they sit, who is the leader etc...So each class that does this activity is different based on how the group interacts. This activity is a metaphor for any group that you are a part of; all of the groups that shape you are governed by both macrosociological forces and micrsociological forces.  For example, see my example of high school below.

If we examined these two levels in high school, there are certain macrosociological values that one would expect to find no matter where the school is located: grades, learning, homework, rules etc... So as you move from one class to the next, you will see these macrosociological values present. On the other hand, every class is different because of the microsociological dynamics present in that class: some teachers are more casual, some teachers use rows vs. a horseshoe shape, some classes have a few loud boisterous individuals and other classes might be mostly girls or mostly guys etc...

Can you see these two levels at play in your own life? Perhaps in your family, your classes or with a group of friends, or at your job? Think about that lifeboat activity and how it is a metaphor for any of the groups that you are a part of. There are macro forces like culture and social class that affect your group but there are also micro forces at play too such as the dynamic of how the group interacts. For example, because we live in America there are certain things expected of family. Even though we had a child under 2 months of age, my wife and I were expected to be at our jobs working (as opposed to other countries where they give 6 months or more of leave for new parents). But the micro forces are present too - because my wife makes more $ than I do, I work part time and spend the rest of my time being a daddy. Can you see how this plays out with your groups?

And this activity can also be an example of the social construction of reality.  All of those on the boat were shaped by how their character is viewed by the group.  So rather than being seen as an individual, each person's role was viewed a certain way because that's how society has trained us to view that person - such as the elderly couple is old and frail so put them overboard.

As a side note, here is a link to the article in the Daily Herald about the students who met in my class as the football player and cheerleader.   They met in my class and then asked me to marry them!

9 comments:

  1. This looked like such a fun activity, I wish I hadn't of missed it.

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  2. This activity was a great way to teach us about Macro and Micro Sociology. Not only did i learn alot but it but we alot of fun yelling at people and choosing who should stay on the boat and who should get off.

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  3. i really liked this activity because it showed us how to put our priorities to people's lives.

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  4. I also really enjoyed this activity because I got to see what people valued. Most people didn't value the old because they were weak and unuseful. Like Mr. Salituro said, China values old people immensley because they have been around life a long time and have a lot of knowlege to offer. However, I would have also voted to kick off the old because they are weak and wouldn't have much to offer. Also, most students in my class valued strength to help them in this situation and I would have to agree. I think this was a fun way to learn how Macro and Micro Sociology works.

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  5. I really liked this activity because it was easier and better to understand because it was a good visual way of seeing how we would kick off people by what they consist of. It shows who we would have voted off as a class and who we thought belonged on the boat. People in my class felt that the stronger and smarter people should have stayed over the older and injured and id have to say i agreed with them. I was the Quarter Master and i had broken wrists to i was kicked off immediately. This was a good activity and i liked how we got to act it out and see what it was like doing a sort of live example.

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  6. This activity was a lot of fun. Even though i wasn't involved in it, it was entertaining to watch. This activity made people realize how important it is to include everyone - regardless of the age. Like for example, people in my class who were the elderly had much to offer. However, most people didn't listen to what they had to say. They were only concerned with themselves and how they would survive. I think that those who were voted off had much to offer, but people these days are so caught up in their own world. Nonetheless, it was a great activity and I had fun watching.

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  7. Wondering where you got your character profiles. Would like to try this activity in class. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi BH, I inherited the profiles from a now-retired sociology teacher, my mentor, Joe Cecchini. He loosely based them off of the movie starring Tyrone Powers which was based off real life. I have thought about changing the roles over the years, but I have all of the data for who has been thrown off and I like being able to compare it, so...it remains. I think you can find the lesson at the ASAtrails lesson plan database or in our Chicago Area Sociology Teachers google group, or email me.

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  8. Hi BH, I inherited the profiles from a now-retired sociology teacher, my mentor, Joe Cecchini. He loosely based them off of the movie starring Tyrone Powers which was based off real life. I have thought about changing the roles over the years, but I have all of the data for who has been thrown off and I like being able to compare it, so...it remains. I think you can find the lesson at the ASAtrails lesson plan database or in our Chicago Area Sociology Teachers google group, or email me.

    ReplyDelete