Thursday, January 23, 2014

What if Fifth Graders Made the Laws?

Recently I had my students do a project where they got to create and write about their own imaginary worlds.  In one section of the project (my favorite part to grade!) they had to make a list of the laws that must be followed in their world.  It's always an interesting glimpse into their priorities, to see what they consider important enough to make a law.  And the consequences they set for those who break the laws give an interesting glimpse into their sense of justice!

Most of my students came up with the kinds of things you might expect (don't murder, don't steal, etc.) but there were a lot of unusual ones as well.  Here are some that I found the most interesting.  Enjoy!


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No act of violence and/or aggression is allowed.  The violator will need to do public apology, attend 100 hours of Anger Management Course, and do 1,000 hours of public service.

No drinking wine after 10:00 p.m.  (Consequence: pay $400.)

All adult ghosts receive $500 every month without working.  (Consequence for adult ghosts not getting $500 every month: $500.)

No war.  (Consequence for having war: 30 years in jail.)

Every doctor needs to have a PhD and will have professional learning every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  (Consequence if they don't: $1,000.)

There can only be 5 movies out in the theater each day.  (Consequence for having more than 5: $7,000)

No cutting down trees.  If you cut down 1 tree, you'll have to plant 10 trees.

No pouring oil in the ocean.  (Consequence: 5-10 years in prison.)

All people shall have guns or will be executed.

No betraying your own species unless you are a qualified spy.  The bigger the betrayal, the longer you have to stay in prison.

Everyone must learn how to use a gun when they are 5 years old.  (Consequence for those who don't: go to the army and serve for 5 years.)

Show kindness and respect to people that sell stuff to you or anyone else.  The consequence is working with that person that you were mean to for three weeks and they don't have to pay you any money for your work.

No one can have slaves unless there is a proper explanation for one.  The consequence is cleaning up three houses each day for one week for someone.

Obey your commanding officers, or else you will go to prison or have to do a chore for the officer you opposed.

You can't kill or even catch a glimpse of the king.

Citizens shall not steal.  If caught, the citizen can face scraping gum off the floor for an hour.

Citizens shall not poach endangered animals.  If caught, the citizen could face fines of up to $100,000 or having to go to high school again.

Citizens shall not smoke.  If caught, the citizen can face fines of up to $550,000 or having to dance in front of a crowd of one thousand people.

Citizens shall not commit adultery.  If caught, they can face drinking five glasses of mud and eating one serving of fire ants.

Citizens shall not abuse a child.  If caught, the parents can be taped to the wall and laughed at for one day.

No smoking anywhere except the smoking rooms, or else you will have to smoke ten smokes at a time in a small room.

No barging into other people's conversations.  Punishment: you will have to live with no talking for a week.

No eating candy.  Punishment: 50 years of jail and a $50,000 fine.  (In this world, the citizens are teeth!)

No playing pranks.  (Consequence: 8 years in jail.)

All names of people and places have to start with the letter "P" or you'll be imprisoned until you die.

Everyone has to get educated for at least 21 years until you become 30 years old, or you'll be banished.

Don't kill the king.  You will be in the jail forever.

Everyone has to prank six times a day or they will be banished.

Do not play with fire near the only Doughnut Tree.  You will be warned and fined $100.

Treat others kindly.  Punishment is being put in the stalks.

No littering.  Punishment is having your house turned into a dump.

No wasting water.  Punishment is having no water for a month.

Don't tell lies.  Punishment is being the court note taker for one month.

Restaurants who use bad chemicals in their food shall be put in jail for fifteen years.

No cheating others.  You will spend your time with a poisonous snake in a small room.  The snake might decide to bite you.  Then you will die.

No destroying nature unless told to, or you'll go to jail for one month.

No wearing clothes that aren't decorated with a star, or you'll be sent to jail for two years.

The population shall not be higher than one million people.  If it exceeds the limit, the youngest child dies first.

One household shall not have more than four people.  If it exceeds the limit, the youngest dies first.

Let the elderly eat first, then you.  The punishment for not doing so is 20 years in prison with two meals per day.

Everyone must pick a job after they are 12 years old, unless they get stuck with their parents or going to school.  The punishment is working until they're 66 years old when everyone else gets to stop at 65.

Thou shalt not eat meat except on holidays.  If caught thou shalt be eaten by the pack of hungry wolves near the Dark Forest.

No one should lend money to someone else.  The punishment is paying $100 to the government.



I've had my classes do this project for several years in a row now.  Click on the links below to read some of the interesting laws created by my students in other years:

Student laws from 2016

student laws from 2015


student laws from 2013

student laws from 2011


student laws from 2009


student laws from 2008


student laws from 2007



2 comments:

Cathy Douglass said...

The most reasonable of those laws is the one about showing kindness to vendors and if not, having to work for free for that vendor for three weeks.

Some kids' sense of punishment is interesting - having to dance in front of 1,000 people or having to repeat high school!

Annie said...

I know - such unusual but effective consequences! The threat of those two would certain deter me from smoking or poaching!