Brave New Worldbuilding

The (K)indred Experiment Year Two has officially launched!

We started yesterday, Friday the 13th and the end of “Spirit Week” before the Homecoming dance. Which, apparently, you can now attend as a 6th grader? I don’t remember that being the case when I was their age, but I wasn’t terribly social then either, and not big on dances.

Needless to say, the kids were spectacularly wound up. I had two boys and two girls, and expect to add two more boys and another girl to the next session. That’s a good mix, I hope. The initial four were great.

I have changed up the order of my lessons, and because we are attempting to squish the entire program into five lessons, we started with Setting. It made the most sense to me to start at a larger scale–imagine a planet!– and then zoom in to characters, and conflict.

The kids came away from this session with descriptions of their planets and macaroni fantasy maps (which I still think are the coolest things ever.) They created planets like Htrae, an alternate dimension Earth where everything is inverted and backwards, Meme Planet, which seems self-explanatory, and Gherpdeflerp, where I can only assume the Swedish Chef hails from, and I am not convinced that I spelled it correctly. I do know that there are pink cotton candy clouds, it rains chocolate milk and (my accidental contribution) snows marshmallows.

I gave them no direction at all this year, as far as content. Last year they were prompted to create an alien and a human and were given the starting point of a crash landing to run with, but ultimately, I felt like the prompt limited their creativity. So this year, I gave them free rein.

If you build it… or I suppose spell it, in the case of Gherpdeflerp.

It’s interesting to see some of the same things pop up in the worldbuilding. Lava has made a strong comeback this year, as well as potentially toxic oceans. There are far fewer robots and weaponized spacemen, but we do have some zombies. I’ll be curious to see whether the lava helps or hurts the zombies. We could be about to be gifted the world’s most shambling, slow motion chase scene.  I can’t wait.

In two weeks, we’ll populate these new worlds and tackle the Hero’s Journey (condensed version) before we begin writing our stories. I can’t begin to imagine where this will take us, but I have a feeling there will be plenty of references to inside 6th grader jokes that leave me feeling very bewildered and older than I am.


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