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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Online History Simulations

Students get more excited about history when they actually experience some of its drama. Back in the day games like Oregon Trail were the absolute best when it came to computer simulations, so it's incredible to see how many free, online games have become available since then. Below is just a small sampling of what's available.

Move It

Move It challenges students to use trains, ships, and wagons to move goods across 1850s England, with limited time and money.

If you're studying transportation, economics, or even math, this is a cool site to explore. (Check out a previous post for some financial literacy simulations).

Building a Sod House

Building a sod house is just one of the many interactives available from the Smithsonian Institute (see the Use Technology section at bottom).

A great activity for classes studying the history of the Great Plains through either a novel or social studies.

Design a Room

Design a room for one of three different historical time periods.

Like Virtual Village below, this site can be used to create an original illustration for a story. After the student sets the scene, a simple application such as Greenshot can be used to clip it and save it.

Trench Mission

In this World War I simulation, guide your private through the trenches to deliver a crucial message to the commander, all the while avoiding the perils of trench life. I needed four tries to do it! I'm sure your students could do better!

Virtual Village

Okay, not nearly as sophisticated as the Sims-type games that are out there, Virtual Village still allows students to create a cool little village using a number of buildings and landscape elements. One of my students used it to create a village scene which she then copied and pasted as an illustration into an original short story.

Evacuation Game

If you were evacuating World War II era London, which items would you need? This is actually a pretty cool site to investigate in connection with not only WWII era novels, but also The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Tenement Museum

Students choose an identity and create a passport as they embark upon their journey to America in the early 1900s. Includes interactive portions as well as videos of reenactors who share information in the first person as immigrants. Many printable items and teacher resources are available.

Need more sites?

For some American Revolution interactives, check out the Crossroads of the Revolution post at my Teach with Picture Books site.

Please leave a comment below for your colleagues describing your favorite interactive history site.


David Harms said...

I am a History teacher that designs History simulations that help students understand and get excited about History: I've developed simulations for Imperialism, The American Civil War, World War One, World War Two and The Cold War.

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