On the last day of Base Camp this year, we tried out a new activity. Each team was challenged to brainstorm then dramatize one of the week’s sessions acting out a Hollywood “trailer” for a story that conveyed the concepts of a session. On the surface, it looked like a silly game. We had a three-person panel of judges giving scores based on each team’s execution of their idea. But the exercise was more than just a fun time for our Climbers. The endeavor showed us what content from the week stood out to some of our Climbers, and most importantly, helped students recall, re-phrase, recap, and retain information.
In 2009, a peer-reviewed study showed that young people are much more likely to retain information when they have an opportunity to act out said information through creative drama than they do through traditional teaching strategies.* This is a common principle of active listening: we all understand and retain information more when we put it into our own words and repeat the information back. Students were broken into 5 groups and acted out a movie pitch for a fictionalized version of any of the sessions from the week. Our judges scored the teams based on: (1) fidelity to the session topic, (2) how well all team-members were integrated into the drama, and (3) how broad of an audience their movie would appeal to.
Oh boy, did our Climbers put on a show! Sessions covered in the movie pitch’s included dramatizations of Jannique Stewart’s “The Intolerance of Tolerance”, Randy Larson’s “Relational Apologetics” Dr. J’s session on the problem of evil, and others as well. It was a blast, a great way to round-up the Base Camp week, and a valuable information retaining strategy put to use.
To all our Base Camp actors and directors: standing ovation!
*Kayhan, H. C. (2009). Creative drama in terms of retaining information. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1(1), 737-740.