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You are here: » BP's Butterfly Guiding History Research Game
I love history. I am, amongst other things, a trained archaeologist/historian, and I love to instill my love of history in other people.
To that end, I created this game called BP's Butterfly. It is designed for age ten or over, including adults. Younger girls would have a really hard time with this game.
I've given a fair bit of detail below on how I created this game, so that you can follow my thought processes as it developed. If you're not interested in that, skip that section, and go straight to the game.
The idea of the game is to find out about Guiding history in a fun way that will not only introduce the players to the wide variety of histories and experiences of the last one hundred years of Guiding, but also the skills and techniques of historical research, in a manner that will enable the players to retain the information because it's fun.
How many people are put off history for life because of the way it is taught in schools - dates, battles, kings, boring?
This game uses several different historical research techniques in an effort to make the subject interesting and relevant. These techniques include:
This game can be used as a companion game to The Dragon Game. In fact, it's based loosely on the concept of the Dragon Game, but I have put my own twist on it.
How I worked out the game (might be useful information for when you create your own games)
The game concept
I had the basic concept: a research game with a picture to be coloured in as the focus and final reward. Kids love coloured stickers and images!
The Dragon Game has a series of bases with questions. Each question, correctly answered, gets a coloured dot to place on the dragon, the aim of the game being to give him all his spots and a beautiful red flame out of his mouth! I thought this could be adapted to the history of Guiding, but didn't want to use the same dragon image.
The central image
What image could I use? I thought for a bit, and came up with a butterfly that Baden-Powell drew while he was in the army. This image is not only pretty, but has a historical connection (drawn by BP when he was a soldier, and showing some traditional Scouting skills) and a terrific story as well.
The story goes that BP was tasked to get a plan of an enemy fortress, including the placement and calibre of its defending guns. So he went out into the countryside, dressed as an entomologist - a butterfly collector - who was out drawing butterflies. He disguised himself like this, because if he was caught in army uniform, he could be shot as a spy. He figured that he couldn't tell the difference between one butterfly and another, and so the average military man would also have trouble identifying butterflies with any accuracy. He therefore started drawing butterflies and moths on his travels, so that, if the enemy captured him, he could convince them that he was a harmless entomologist. What the enemy didn't know was that he was incorporating the plans of their military installations within his drawings.
The game structure
Once I had the concept and the image, I needed to work out a structure for the questions. The Dragon Game doesn't have a particular structure: the questions are all mixed up according to the availability of resources. I thought history needed a bit more structure, and a bit of incentive for the players to want to visit the bases.
So I came up with four base names, designed to entice:
Deciding on the base questions
Then it was a matter of collecting my sources, and deciding which questions I wanted the players to answer.
All of this is tailored to my Guides and my District. I know my girls, I know what they like and how they work. You know your people, and I'm sure you can tailor what I've done to them.
How to Play
You will need
On the backs of these butterflies are the appropriate questions and their answers. The master butterfly has only one question (Question 21).
You will also need the following reference material:
Set up a minimum of four bases.
At each base, you will need:
1. What did Robert Baden-Powell do before he started Scouting? Find an interesting story about his career and share it with a leader.
5. What was the first handbook for the Girl Guides, and who wrote it? Find something interesting in the book to share.
9. Where did Robert and Olave first meet? How many years’ difference in age was there between them?
13. Who was Agnes Baden-Powell, and what was her contribution to Guiding? Find out something interesting about her.
17. Who was Olave Baden-Powell, and what was her contribution to Guiding? Find out something interesting about her.
2. When and where did Guiding start in Australia, and what did they call themselves? When did Guiding start in NSW?
6. Who was The Lev, and what was her contribution to New South Wales Guiding?
10. Look around the Guide Hall. It has had extensions added to it. Identify the original hall and the extensions. How can you tell?
Note: This question was designed to get the players to deduce historical facts by using tangible artefacts, in this case, the building. This can be quite challenging if you've never done this sort of thinking before.
14. What was the date of the dedication ceremony for Glengarry?
18. From what you can see in the Guide Hall, how long do you think Baulkham Hills Guiding has been around?
Note: this question is designed to get the players really looking at the memorabilia in the hall, and to do some deductive reasoning from what is available. If the oldest object that mentions the name of the district has a date, the district is at least that old (it may be older). So, if an honour board mentions that the first Queen's Guide was earned in 1972, the district was in existence in 1972. However, this resource does not tell you when the district started, but only that it already existed in 1972.
3. Who was Pearl, and how was she ruined?
Note: This question was designed to show that stories and anecdotes can make history come alive. The girls thought Pearl was a person, and were surprised and delighted that she turned out to be a cow! In the words of one Guide: 'if you need fresh milk at a camp, of course you take a cow with you!'
7. What was the Brownsea Island camp? Where and when was it held? What is its significance to Scouting and Guiding?
11. When was the Crystal Palace Rally, and what happened there? What is its significance to Guiding?
15. Find two examples of how Guides have helped in wartime.
19. Find an interesting story or fact from the material available and share it with a leader. Why do you find it interesting?
Note: This question was designed to allow the players to engage with the historical material according to their own interests and whims (much as professional historians do). Giving them a chance to explore the material to find something interesting, rather than answer set questions all the time, also gives them a chance to learn more by sifting through the resources. This base also included a facsimile of a wartime diary written by an English Guide Patrol - an example of a primary source, and one that could lead to the Guides wanting to create their own Patrol Diary.
Fun Facts Base
4. A rose was created and named after one of the Baden-Powells. Who was it, what colour is the rose, and who do you know that grows one?
Note: This question showed that historical information is all around us, even in a garden. It also brought an esoteric concept closer to home, by showing that the Unit Leader had an Olave Baden-Powell rose in her own garden.
8. What are these?* When were they in use? What did a Guide have to do to get them?
*Note: "These" were pre-1997 interest badges on a camp blanket. The idea of this question was for the players to investigate the badge system used before the one they currently use, and to compare the two. It took some leading questions from the base leader to elicit these sorts of conclusions.
12. In 1965, what did a girl have to do before she made her Promise as a Girl Guide?
Note: This is an example of gleaning historical information from an artefact. We used the Tenderfoot card that I had when I was a recruit. The girls were told of its age and fragility, and were carefully supervised when handling it. This also gives subconscious training in how to handle artefacts: they didn't want to upset me by damaging my precious memorabilia. It also gave the leader the chance to introduce the idea of some activities that had not been programmed for some time: the girls got the opportunity to identify the activities they had not yet done but would like to try. They could also compare what I had to do for my Pre-Promise with what they did.
16. Why did Baden-Powell call the new girls’ movement the Guides?
20. Which member of the Baden-Powell family kept butterflies, and where were they kept?
Note: This question makes Agnes into a real person, and also leads into another game I have created on her life.
21. Who drew this butterfly, and what does it represent?
Note 1: This question has several layers to it. Although the girls read out the appropriate passage, they didn't really process the information until I asked them to show me the fortress outlined in the butterfly drawing. Some of them got it immediately, some of them had to look back at the resource to figure it out. Then we discussed the ingenuity of BP in coming up with this idea of camouflaging military intelligence data in an innocuous butterfly drawing: this, when its signficance dawned on the girls, elicited yells of surprise and admiration.
Note 2: The sticky dot for this question is the final question of the game, and should be kept until last. It is a larger dot that goes on the head of the butterfly.
If you've waded your way through this page to here, congratulations! If you would like a file with the base information without all the commentary, email me.