Sims Unit Plan

A Unit Plan – 5/19/09

I have designed this unit plan for an intermediate intensive Russian course.

While designing this unit, I knew that I wanted a project focus integrated with CALL elements. The Sims 2 is a computer game in which the player can create her own character and make choices that impact that character’s life. I have included screenshots with the lesson in order to demonstrate the layout of the game. At first glance, the game seems dull and pointless – your character can choose to call up a friend to hang out, or do the dishes, or buy a swimming pool, or look for a job in the paper – but it’s surprisingly compelling. The health and well-being of each inhabitant of this virtual world is metered (hygiene, hunger, and so on); thus, it is the player’s responsibility to ensure that their Sim is happy and in good health.

The reason I chose to use The Sims 2 in this particular unit is because the game allows players to plan parties by calling neighbors and friends to invite them, preparing food, buying furniture and party supplies, then entertaining guests when they arrive. By making a party planning simulation more “real” by seeing it played out in the world of The Sims 2, students will have a better conception of what a Russian party might look like and the necessary steps one must take to execute one. Additionally, they will become familiarized with the Russian layout of The Sims 2, mastering new vocabulary in the process.

Unit: Bon Appetit!


As a result of completing this unit, students will…

  • Cognitive
    • be familiar with Russian customs and social norms as they relate to parties
    • know the sociolinguistic rules of host-guest interaction
  • Performance
    • make a shopping list for a party
    • be able to use context-appropriate courtesy phrases
    • actively control food and party vocabulary
  • Affective
    • be confident in social situations in Russia
    • be motivated to plan social events in Russia
  • Metacognitive
    • be aware of party planning strategies, including making lists and making a budget
    • be conscious of the choices that need to be made in event planning





Lesson # Topic Tasks Materials
1 Preparing to plan a party Review food vocabulary with photos of authentic Russian food

Examine a diagram of a holiday spread

Pair/group work: List elements essential for a successful dinner (food, decorations, accessories) and compare with U.S. party culture

Photos of authentic Russian food

Holiday spread diagram

2 Deciding a course of action for planning a party in the Sims 2 Review items and factors necessary for a party

Explain to Ss that they have a budget for planning this party

Handout with screenshots of the various party planning-related choices in Sims 2
3 Host a dinner party in Sims 2 Each pair/group presents and argues their party planning choices to the class

For each pair/group, T plays the Sims 2 based on their choices and records each scene


The Sims 2

4 Make a voiceover of the party in the Sims 2 Review courtesy phrases and rules of host-guest social interaction

Pair/group work: Ss record a voiceover of the Sims 2 party scene they made happen

Ss watch each scene and discuss what choices had a positive/negative effect on the success of the party

Lesson 2 – detail

Activity # Time Task Learner Behaviors Teacher Behaviors Language content Outcomes
1 10 Review items and factors necessary for a party Call out items and factors they listed in the last class Writes student responses on board Vocabulary review Ss activate party and food vocabulary
2 10 Figuring out importance of various elements for a party based on a budget In their groups, Ss rank their party elements in order of importance Gives Ss a monetary limit for party spending; asks Ss to list elements in order of importance Negotiating Ss negotiate with one another and pre-plan a budget
3 30 Based on the options in the Sims 2 computer game, Ss make choices about the party they are planning, keeping in mind their budgetary limits In their groups, Ss go through the screen-shots, circle their choices, and come up with reasons for their choices Hands out Sims 2 screenshots of the choices Ss must make; observes Ss’ planning and assists with compre-hension, decision making Compre-hending game choices. Making decisions. Infinitives. Ss decode the interface of Sims 2. Ss predict party outcomes and make choices accordingly