The part I love about Agency when it has been well developed is the opportunity to have extended adventures. To take a child's love for the imaginary and for stories the next step and cast them in their own story.
On Monday we received this message from Head Agent at the end of our session. Voki is hard to infuse with emotion but the agents clicked that something had gone wrong.
This morning we entered agency for an extended session. Once in agency we received a voice message from Head Villain. His message went along the lines of this...
"It is Head Villain here. I have your Head Agent. He is locked up in my lair. My Villains are wreaking havoc, the baker has too many cakes, the gardener is planting snails and the firefighters fires are doubling. They are on their way to the others now. You will not defeat us. But try if you dare!"
Upon receiving this message I had set some children to play the role of some clients. We were able to talk to them about the problems they were having and we worked out that more than one Villain was involved. Upon checking the map we saw that four Villains were hovering over Whangarei.
Just to add a little bit of drama, before we started I used our time travel device. We hopped into our 'pods' belted ourselves in, put on our helmets and travelled forwards to the next day so we could check how we had gone in defeating the villains. Through storytelling I was able to share with the villains that their past selves had failed. They had not listened to each other, been in a rush to solve the problems and had not got the right code to unlock Head Agent. This had led to the villains winning and wreaking havoc for all of our clients. The agency ceased to exist as we know it and was taken over by our nemesis Head Villain. This gave me an opportunity to warn them about what we were about to do and to reinforce all those positive habits we would need.
(I love this strategy in drama and often use it in my Mantles)
Promising to do better next time we travelled back to present day.
Agent 81 (me) was then called away to the secret spy team that had been sent in to rescue Head Agent. She left us in the capable hands of Peter the Policeman (me in character.)
What followed was a sequence of problems presented to us first by Subtraction Shark, followed by Knight Adder, Captain Fraction and the Doubling Dinosaur.
At the end of each problem we had to agree on the correct answer. This then became part of a code that would unlock the padlock and free Head Agent.
After we had the four answers, one of the agents was picked to communicate directly to Agent 81, who was outside the building where Head Agent was being held and had constantly been giving us updates via Peter the Policeman's phone. It turns out Head Villain is nocturnal and had fallen asleep, Agent 81 could hear the snoring from outside the door.
Peter left and the agent selected communicated clearly with Agent 81 (me standing out the back of the class.) Agent 81 pushed in the code, but unfortunately the agent had given it to her backwards. Luckily we got another chance and this time were able to free Head Agent.
81 came back to agency. We celebrated with our chant, cleared the boardroom and then heard from our clients (children in role) who all reported that the problem was over.
We were lucky to hear from Head Agent who confirmed that he was free thanks to us.
We checked out of agency after a fantastically fun session...who would think it was maths!
The session took 1hr 30. You wouldn't have known it though, children were so involved in being the heroes in the story and working to free Head Agent, they worked together really well and immersed themselves in the imagined. Obviously I wouldn't do this too often, but it makes a lovely addition to our normal routine.
I love weaving these missions into our programme. I think if I had the time to make them into story books the children would refer back to them constantly. Something to think about :)
This creativity in delivering maths is completely changing the way children see themselves as mathematicians, I love it so much and so do they!
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