Moon Landing Exercise
Break class into project groups.
In the following situation, your "life" and "death" depends upon how well you can prioritize items for survival in a relatively unfamiliar environment. This problem is fictional, although the ranking to which you will compare your results was done by a number of space exploration experts.
You are a member of a lunar exploration crew originally scheduled to rendezvous with a mother ship on the lighted surface of the moon. Due to mechanical difficulties however, your ship was forced to land at a spot 200 miles from the rendezvous point. During the re-entry and landing, much of the equipment aboard was damaged, and, since survival depends on reaching the mother ship, the most critical items available must be chosen for the 200 mile trip.
The list you hold includes the 15 items left intact and undamaged after landing. Your task is to rank these items according to their importance in aiding you to reach the mother ship, starting with "1" the more important, to "15" the least important. You should assume that your crew is your small project group, that you have agreed to stick together, and that all 15 items are in good condition.
Do not discuss this exercise, the items, or your rankings with fellow group members at this time. When you are doing with your rankings, await further instructions—again, with no discussion of the exercise with fellow crew members.
Group Decision Rule
Now, each project group must pick a decision rule from the ones that are available. At the front of the room are cards; once your crew has decided on a rule, come to the front and take the corresponding card. If those are all gone, then you’ll have to take a different one. (The longer you take to decide, the fewer are the number of choices that will remain.)
With the decision rule in hand, proceed to reach your group judgment. Take care not to listen to other groups’ discussions. Once you have made your group rankings, await further instructions.
The slide above shows the actual rankings of the importance of these items, based on the judgments of experts in space travel and lunar landings. For your individual score, calculate the absolute value of the difference between your ranking and that of the experts for each item. Add those fifteen results together to get your total individual score. (The lower the score, the closer your judgment to that of the experts.)
Next, figure out what’s the highest individual score in your group.
Now, calculate the average score of the individuals in your group.
Finally, one or more of your group members should do the same absolute-value calculations to calculate the group’s score relative to that of the experts.
Adapted from www.hks.harvard.edu/saguaro/powerpoint/LunarSurvival.ppt