Abby always liked school, but she was especially excited about today. Her class had earned a reward: a game day! Their teacher, Dr. Liu, promised they could spend most of the day playing games. Abby's best friend, Kamal, hoped they would play his favorite board game. Abby hoped they would play basketball.
Before everyone had taken a seat, Kamal was showing everyone the board game he had brought from home. "Can we play my favorite game?" he asked Dr. Liu.
"Who has a game in mind that they would like to play today?" asked Dr. Liu. Almost everyone raised their hands.
"How will we decide which games to play?" Dr. Liu asked.
"Since you are the teacher, you could decide," said Corey.
"Well, I could," said Dr. Liu, "But I would rather the group decide, because the decision affects everyone. I think that would be more fair. What do you think?"
"Why don't we play everyone's game?'" asked Ty.
"Let's do the math," said Dr. Liu. Everyone groaned. "We've just started learning division. Let's see who can find out how much time we would have to play each game." The children added up all the time they would need for lunch in the cafeteria, their visit to the school library, and their music class. Not even three hours were left to play games. The class had twenty students. That meant if they played each student's game, they could only play each game for about ten minutes. No one thought this was a good idea: Some games take almost that long to set up!
"We could vote on which games to play," suggested Abby. "In my congregation, we say that everyone deserves a say about the things that concern them."
Everyone thought this would be fair. Dr. Liu invited everyone to suggest games and wrote all their suggestions on the board. Some games needed special equipment which they did not have; Dr. Liu asked the children who suggested them if he could cross these off the list and they agreed. Dr. Liu suggested a game, too. It was a game he used to play as a child in China.
"If we take a simple vote, most of you will vote for the game you suggested," said Dr. Liu, "and that won't get us very far. So I will give everyone three star stickers. Put your star stickers by three games you would enjoy playing. After everyone has voted, we'll see which games have the most stickers." Everyone talked excitedly while placing their stickers.
Dr. Liu tallied the votes. He listed all the games in order of most votes. Dr. Liu said he wanted to make sure everybody got to play at least one game for which they had voted. He pointed to the top three games and said "If you did not vote for any of these games, raise your hand." Two people raised their hands. Dr. Liu pointed to the top four games and asked the same question. No one raised their hands. "We will play these four games today."
So the Game Day started. Dr. Liu's game had the most votes because everyone wanted to learn a new game. Kamal was happy that his board game was third on the list. He enjoyed playing it, even though he did not win.
When Abby went home, her sister teased her. "I thought school was for learning, not playing games."
"We did learn something today," Abby countered. "We learned a new game from China and we learned about making fair decisions."