Teaching history with classroom games is a great way to breathe life into subject matter that some students can find boring. In this ever-changing age of digital television, internet and game consoles, teachers must constantly think of new ways to supplement their history lesson plans to keep students alert and interested during lessons. Games are an effective supplement to book learning and make it fun.
There are various types of classroom games that can be used to teach history. Some require a minimum of teaching materials and classroom resources. The Quiz, where the class can be broken into competing teams and tested on dates and historic figures, is an effective example of this. Other popular cost-effective classroom activities include writing imagined interviews with historical figures e.g. during The American Revolution or taking a time-machine back to a particular historic period, such as Colonization, and recounting experiences in colorful text.
Teaching history with classroom games is at its most effective when students are encouraged to think about why particular historic figures acted as they did or why events occurred at particular points in history. The classroom period drama, written and enacted by students under the supervision and advice of a teacher, is another interesting way to teach history. These games are also useful supplements to American Revolution lesson plans and Cold War lesson plans.
Games are useful classroom activities in that they encourage interaction and team playing between students during lessons. This is particularly effective with class debates where teams of four can be created to compete with other teams and discuss important historical issues. Was Stalin an effective Russian leader during World War Two? What were the most important causes of the American Civil War? Answers to historical questions like these can be formulated by students as a team and presented to the history class and discussed in further lessons.
More advanced games can involve the new educational technology at a history teacher's disposal. There are now a host of softwares that make for educational classroom games. History students can imagine themselves walking through streets in ancient times, buying food and handcrafts in fairs and talking with famous people of key historic periods, be it in early Industrial America or in a more progressive period like the 1960s or 1970s.
PowerPoints are effective tools, not only in formulating history lesson plans, but in designing classroom games. Multiple-choice style activities can be circulated to students on computers and then filled in individually or as a team. Games using PowerPoints are most effective during lessons if the history teacher uses his or her imagination in designing them with clip art and eye-catching colors.
For classroom games to be used successfully, some care must be taken. Teachers must encourage students to focus on the lesson at hand so that the learning activity does not deviate and lose its point. It is also important with discussion-type activities that even more reticent history students are encouraged to participate in lessons.
Classroom games like these can be purchased, ready-made, and downloaded off the internet. They offer several benefits to teachers. For one, can be re-used every year, giving teachers a lot of mileage from a single purchase. Also, given the hours it would take a teacher to produce the same materials, they're inexpensive. They can be purchased in combination with PowerPoint lesson plans that are like having a "classroom in a box" with PowerPoints that include lessons, crossword puzzles, exams and more.
These classroom materials help teachers get the attention of today's media-savvy students with multimedia capabilities that include audio and video.
Besides being able to hold the attention of students, they are linked to national history standards and major state standards, which helps with state test prep, and can improve students' state test scores.
Purchasing pre-made games and PowerPoint lesson plans is a great way to improve the education experience of both teachers and students.
Written by Muireann Prendergast. MultiMedia Learning LLC provides history games, as well as U.S. History PowerPoints and World history PowerPoints through their unique software. Students learn History through classroom social studies games and engaging technology. Learn more at http://www.multimedialearning.org.
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