Scaffolding Role-Playing - An Analysis of Interactions with Non Role-players of All Ages


  • Gabriel de los Angeles



Indigenous, ecology, edu-larp, educational psychology


This paper explores the relationship between nature and culture during a series of scaffolded live action role-playing (larp) activities designed as part of a science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) summer program for indigenous youth. As a linked construct, nature and culture implicitly ground much of human activity, figuring centrally in core ontological and epistemological frameworks (Bang, Warren, Rosebery, and Medin 2012) and human cognition and development (Medin & Atran 2004). After forefronting cultural stories as the launch of activities, scaffolded larp practices were used as one
series of activities of a multiple site, multiple year design-based research study. The STEAM programming was designed to explore the complex connections of indigenous culture, knowledge systems, philosophies, and relational epistemologies with perspective taking (Galinsky, Ku, & Wang 2005). Larp was used to add embodiment of non-role-players through degrees of immersive practices. This paper focuses on the larp finale of the 5 activity larp series at the Seattle site. Preliminary analysis of the video recordings, both handheld and point of view, demonstrated that children took up multiple perspectives of the complex systems of local plants and animals. The participants role-played those relationships with nuance and understanding of how those plants and animals interact and relate. Those interactions also characterized the three layers of role-play that were taken
in steps when physical representations of the non-human characters were lacking as a part of the design (Fine, 1983; Bjork and Holopainen 2003).




How to Cite

de los Angeles, G. (2016). Scaffolding Role-Playing - An Analysis of Interactions with Non Role-players of All Ages. International Journal of Role-Playing, (6), 20–26.