Prejudiced Polygons

We adapt “Parable of the Polygons” (Vi Hart and Nicky Case), an online simulation on diversity and segregation, into an appropriate MTC session. The session is interactive, and offers multiple layers of content depending on the age and comfort level of students with conversations on social issues. These levels include: (1) an exercise in fractions, (2) an introduction to game theory, (3) an invitation for students to think about the benefits of diverse groups, and (4) a discussion of how individual biases, no matter how small, can lead to detrimental societal effects like segregation. Triangles and Squares live together in neighborhoods. However, the Polygons all believe two things: “I am unhappy if fewer than 1/3 of my immediate neighbors are like me.” and “I am unhappy if I have no immediate neighbors.”