Reacting to the Past

Using simulation games effectively in the classroom poses challenges. The power of such games to offer compelling and unique learning opportunities is very real, however, and well worth the effort. I invite readers to use the guidelines in this series to harness the power of simulation games. I encourage teachers to engage in their own play, experimenting with simulations thoughtfully, taking calculated risks in the classroom, wading into the chaos, and guiding students towards a more meaningful and relevant study of the past.

Important objectives of Government and US History courses include helping students analyze issues, evaluate actions and decisions, connect classroom knowledge to real-world situations, and develop problem-solving skills. Role-playing and simulations can be effective ways to achieve these goals. costumes or scripts.

My core principles for this type of engagement are as follows:

  • Student Engagement – find ways to engage as many students as possible
  • Objectives Are Clear – the purpose of the simulation is directly measured through definable outcomes and student reflection
  • Duration – length and intensity are suitable to the short high school time frame
  • Roles – responsibility and dependence on certain roles are minimized



  • Great Lakes History Conference, Grand Valley State, Oct 13, 2018 (download)