CLARK — While reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman, students in Miss Wegbreit’s seventh grade Language Arts class at Carl H. Kumpf Middle School in Clark are creating a micronation in room 26 inspired by the fictional country presented in the novel, Florin. A micronation is a made-up country that has a working government, currency, social system, and population. Miss Wegbreit’s class has split up into seven groups to complete the framework for Florin by March 8, which will be Florin’s Independence Day.
The “government officials” were elected by the class after performing persuasive campaign commercials. Those elected are responsible for setting good examples for the rest of the class and keeping each group on task, while still being a part of another taskforce. The “article writers” are responsible for writing the list of laws and rules for the country, archiving important documents, and creating a time capsule/history.
The “society enforcers” must create a Bill of Rights, holidays, law enforcement, and a working educational system equipped with a sample classroom and curriculum. The “foreign correspondents” are tasked with creating a citizenship test, citizen documentation, and publications promoting the country. The “currency wagers” are responsible for creating sample currency of Florin, rules of taxation, and jobs corresponding with the social classes.
The “territory definers” are those who must measure the classroom to create true Florin landmarks, draw a map, and describe the population by taking surveys to create a census. The “fun-fact makers” are responsible for writing the country’s motto, pledge of allegiance, and national anthem; deciding on the national language, sport, animal, flower, food, symbol, etc. by taking surveys and writing back-stories; and teaching all country facts to the rest of the population.
Every group is responsible for presenting their creations to the class on Independence Day. All students will use their knowledge of the novel to innovatively create Florin in room 26 during the present day rather than during the fairytale world of the novel. They are each tasked with writing a two page reflection upon completion of the project to think critically about what they have learned in relation to how the setting influences an overall story, how to work together, and how to budget one’s time accordingly.
The project was meant to allow students to explore the setting of Florin separately from Goldman’s novel. It was meant to expand students’ minds to new ideas, places, and people; therefore, it would broaden their own life experiences. By reading The Princess Bride and creating Florin, students will be able to recognize the relevancy of the environment on a person’s life and distinguish the components of reality within fantasy.