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Posts tagged ‘simulation’

Mission US: Up from the Dust

Mission US: “Up from the Dust” is the newest simulation from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and WNET with a focus on saving the Texas family farm during the Dust Bowl.

The mission provides young people with an experiential understanding of the enormous hardships facing Americans during the late 1920s and early 1930s, as they struggled against the joint catastrophes of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. The game is divided into five parts, with a prologue offering background information and an epilogue extending the story of the main characters. A new feature in Mission 5 is a tool for gathering and organizing historical evidence to support explanatory and argumentative writing aligned to the mission’s learning goals.

Students assume the roles of Frank and Ginny Dunn, twins growing up on a wheat farm in the Texas Panhandle. The simulation begins in summer 1929, as the Dunn family is preparing to plant their wheat crop. During the 1929-1930 growing season, the stock market crashes and wheat prices begin a precipitous fall. Later, a drought adds to their problems. Over the next few years, the Dunns witness how the Great Depression affects not only their neighbors in Texas, but people all across the United States. They also experience how people came together, both through charity and government programs, to get through this challenging period in American history. Read more

Tweet the Debates: Using Twitter to recreate history

Twitter is a pretty amazing tool. Think about it. With Twitter, I can get constant updates from my friends, family, and colleagues on what they had for breakfast, how their drive to work went, and truly important stuff like how hot they think it will be this afternoon.

Seriously. How did we live without Twitter?

I kid because I love.

Twitter really is a pretty amazing tool. Revolutions in Egypt. Live updates on natural disasters. Connections with loved ones thousands of miles away. Not to mention a decent instructional strategy.

We’ve talked about using Twitter in the social studies before. And so when I came across Tweet the Debates, I was more than just a little curious. Created by artist and lawyer Toby Grytafey, Tweet the Debates is his attempt to recreate the summer of 1787 as if those attending the Constitutional Convention had access to social media.

It’s an interesting concept that has worked for other historical events. And it sounds pretty cool. Toby started a Kickstarter project that was hoping to raise funds for a mobile app and other goodies. Even if the fundraising idea fell through, the actual Tweet the Debates idea is awesome.

Toby uses a quote from James Madison, apparently written in the spring of 1835, as inspiration for the project: Read more

Pursued and Google Maps: Stay one step ahead

Imagine you are a trained undercover agent. While helping a little old lady across the street after saving stranded kittens stuck in a tree, you’re ambushed by evil doers.

You’re taken prisoner, shoved in the trunk of their getaway car, and transported to a secret location.

But because you are a trained undercover agent, you’re able to escape. The problem? You’re not sure where you are. You could be in any city in the world!

And so begins your adventure in the very cool, free, online, geo-based game called Pursued. Using the Street View feature of Google Maps, the makers of Pursued have created a great way for you to trains kids to ask questions, use visual clues, think spatially, become comfortable with geography tools, create mental maps, and solve problems all while having a good time. Read more

Classroom battlefields, recreating history, and emotional connections

It was a massacre. Bodies lying everywhere, draped over rocks and sprawled in the road. The cries and moans of the wounded loud in our ears. The smell of gun smoke wafting through the air. Other soldiers hiding in ditches and behind trees, yelling instructions at one another.

And then . . . the bell rang and we all went to lunch.

Welcome to my 3rd hour 8th grade American History class sometime in the early 1990s. Before standards or state assessments, and without a clear district curriculum, I could pretty much do whatever I wanted.

And one of the things I wanted was for my kids to understand a bit about how historical battles were fought and at least a little about battlefield conditions. So during our study of the American Revolution, we recreated the battle of Lexington and Concord.

Kids were assigned roles as British regulars or colonial militia. Tactics were discussed and practiced. We talked about historical context. And we carefully handed out the weapons – left over paper from the teachers’ lounge, wadded up into balls. Each soldier was allowed only so much, based on their role.

The colonial militia was allowed to turn over the desks to act as rocks and trees. British regulars, with red construction paper taped to the chests, had to march down the center of the classroom – surrounded on both sides by over-turned desks and angry Massachusetts farmers.

I would strike 10 or 15 old fashioned matches, blowing them out quickly so the room filled with smoke (pre-smoke alarm days) and the battle was on.

Read more

Tip of the Week: Shambles at the Palace of Versailles Simulation

Times are tough. Teachers are getting fewer and fewer opportunities to take kids on field trips. You just can’t hop a plane and head out to the Gettysburg battlefield or the Palace of Versailles like you used to.

But the good news is if you can’t get to Versailles, Versailles can get to you. With a bit of help from Google, the Palace of Versailles now comes in 3D.

The new this summer Versailles 3D website offers you and your kids the chance to explore and experience the Palace in all of its 3D glory. Read more