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Driving Question: 

How do countries solve problems and engage in diplomacy?

Social Studies
Grade 8

Students participated in a WWI simulation where they chose a country to act as and made decisions to determine the outcome of the war. Students first learned background knowledge, including the long term and short term cause of the way and information about the key countries involved. Students then used their knowledge as a representative of a country in the simulation. They learned the different policies they need to push and enact and that these tensions lead to war, risks, and consequences. After the simulation, they compared and contrasted the real events of WWI with their simulation. Finally, students wrote an essay arguing the causes of WWI after evaluating and learning different perspectives. Through the experience, students also gained geography knowledge and mapping skills. 

Student Reflection

"My favorite part of the simulation was learning what different countries why they did what they did. It helped me learned content. I was a bit confused during the simulation and had a hard time knowing what really happened versus what we decided to do." - William

"I liked negotiating and making deals as well as collaborating with others. It makes it feels you have a voice in history.  Most challenging part was honestly losing or dying in the simulation." - William

" My favorite part was experiencing what the nations actually went through. The most challenging part was negotiating with the other people and countries especially with neutral countries. - Bradley

Student Products
  • Participate in the Simulation of WWI as a specific country.

  • Compare and Contrast what happened in the simulation versus actual history.

  • Write an essays making a claim of what caused WWI examining mulitple perspectives. 

Teacher Reflection

"It was really engaging, because of the game aspect of the simulations. Students also request the topic of a major world war. The simulation turned it into a 'need to know,' it forced inquiry. An example was 'If I attack the western front, why do I get a negative penalty.?' That lead to questions of trench warfare, its benefits for the defenders and more. We need more of the 'good stuff,' not all the blood and guts. We were focusing on the weapons and carnage, but maybe we could focus on the more positive viewpoints.  There is a lot of awful things that need to be taught but we need to show that humanity is not all bad.  A positive example is that women's suffrage came out of this. We could have also scaffolded the final essay in smaller chunks. That being said, once we were writing the essay, there wasn't a single kid who lacked content knowledge. It was clear they had gain basics understandings of WW1, some of the causes, the overall brutality of it, the technology shifts and changes, and the consequences of the war. Ultimately they are acting as historians. They are doing history." - Brad Evans and Matt Zeman


Brad Evans

Matt Zeman