Is learning history through simulation games online enough?

What if I told you there were seven different ways of learning? Although that may seem like a very large number, it is true. There are seven different ways of learning, each one different from the next. The seven different ways include visual learning (through pictures and imagines), auditory (through sound and music), verbal (through words, both in writing and speech), kinesthetic (through body, hands, and sense of touch), logical (through logic and reasoning), social (through learning in groups or with other people), and solitary (through working along and using self-study). Like I said before, each of these learning types are different from the next and each bring forth a different way of learning things.

Everyone knows what type of learning style is best for them. Whether that be through flashcards, reading over text or listening to something being read aloud, we all know what works for us. But I believe is it imperative to know and be able to learn through different methods. By being able to learn in different ways, that may better help a student understand and have the ability to better adapt to the different teaching styles that each of their teachers may present. Mr. Harms does just this through the History Simulation Games.

The History Simulator that Mr. Harms has designed presents students with a creative and whole new way of learning history. Anyone can read about a war in a textbook, take some notes, and understand the basic concepts enough to get a passing grade. But the History Simulation Games takes that student who does just enough to get by and puts them in a situation where they have to think, interact, and strategize to win a war. The History Simulator that Mr. Harms designed challenges students to learned in not just one of the seven ways but in all of the seven ways. Now I can imagine what you are thinking, how is it possible to have one game but seven different ways of learning? Through the History Simulation Games, it is possible. Students use the visual way of learning to look at the interactive war maps, seeing the change that happens in each country as the war progresses. Students use the auditory way of learning when Mr. Harms stands up at the beginning of class and gives an announcement. For example, during WWII, Mr. Harms took time at the beginning of class to read the Zimmermann note. Students had to listen to what was said and then think how that might affect their country or their strategy to win the war. Verbal learning is also done through the simulations because students are required to write a summary of what their country did each day, challenging them to know how to effectively communicate their thoughts. There is one simulation, the Imperialism Simulation, that students use the kinesthetic way of learning. Students take turns rolling dice for their country in order to obtain their objectives. Logical learning is a very large part of the History Simulation Games because students have to know how their moves will affect what happens in the future, not only with their country but all the other countries involved in the war. The social and solitary types of learning are done through the simulations by having to direct what a country does by yourself but then having to communicate with the other countries who are fighting on the same side as you. For example Germany has to be able to communicate the Axis Powers during WWII.

Now although the History Simulations many not replace the textbook and note taking type of learning, the Simulations provide students with the ability to use the seven different types of learning. With the History Simulation Games, students get the opportunity to learn about world history in a new way and without realizing it, the students are learning how to communicate and challenge themselves to learn in a new way each and every day.

For Teachers: Tips On How You Can Make World War 1 Lessons Fun

Are you getting ready to dust off your old World War 1 Lesson Plans for another round of teaching the Great War? How many years have you used this lesson? Are you going to be excited to come to school to teach it? Are your students going to be excited to come to your class to learn about World War I? The answers are probably no to both. If you’re not excited it’s fairly easy to predict that students won’t be excited either.

History Simulation Gaming

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for students to experience the First World War instead of just listening to you talk about it? has created some very hands on lesson plan activities that are designed to increase student engagement and create student interest in World War 1. Students are assigned the roles of leaders of countries involved in the 1st World War. Each country has a standing army and a schedule of reserves that are activated by mobilization. Some countries even have navies that can do battle with other navies and can transport troops from one region to another. Now you might ask: how does this not just turn into a quest for world domination or a game of Risk? Each country has a set of objectives that were the objectives of those countries in World War 1. The objectives are part of the student’s grades! Students are constantly negotiating and conducting diplomacy with other countries based on their strategy to achieve those objectives. With’s online platforms, a lot of these tasks are automated like mobilizing troops, calculation of sea and land battles. Troops and navies are represented by numbers and the country’s flags on the map. The teacher can move troops into a zone and double click on the zone- activating the battle.

When the simulation ends, student interest is a lot higher as to what actually happened in the war. The discussion is better and more engaged. also has a complete set of Keynote and PowerPoint presentations that get students engaged in learning. I don’t think you can underestimate the impact that getting students interested in a subject has. In February of 2018, using periods 1-5 of my World History sections at IFAHS i can show you the comparison of scores and the factors related to them. In the previous unit, we studied 2 sections of Ch. 24 “Nationalist Revolutions Sweep The West”. We followed that up with the World War 1 Simulation. When the simulation was over, we studied what really happened in the war, going over 4 sections of Chapter 29 “The Great War”. So we are talking about covering twice as much material on the test! You can see the results in the chart and decide for yourself if participating in a simulation increased learning:

Why and how to teach kids about World War 1

World War I or otherwise known as the War to End All Wars, started in July, 1914 and ended in November, 1918. But it would not end just there. This was just the beginning to a long journey of reform and recovery. World War I started when a Serbian terrorist, Gavrilo Princip, shot an Austro-Hungarian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo, Bosnia. How could one single loss of life, have such a global impact? This is what kids need to know.

Many were shocked when the start of the war broke out. It seemed to just come “out of the blue.” But was that really the case? Some believe that the seed of war was planted long before that. So what is an effective way to educate kids on the timeline of events and the war itself? This is where the World War I lesson plans come into play. Rather than having kids funneled into a classroom listening to lectures, taking notes off a screen, and reading chapter after chapter in a dull textbook, why not create small scale reenactment? Fortunately enough, that has already been done.

The World War I simulation is similar to that of a game. It includes events, stories, and challenges that were faced within the timeline, similar to the real life event. The main focus of the simulation is the interactive map that is projected for the whole class, in which the teacher controls. The map allows the students to see their country, plus others as well. The map is color coordinated to show who is allied with each other and who is neutral, also showing each countries number of troops.

Throughout the simulation the students are informed to the very last day of the war what they are supposed to accomplish. Students, usually in pairs, are assigned to a specific country. The kids are then given a binder with a set of rules, guides for their army, information specific to their given country, and a list of goals to complete before the last round of the simulation. Kids are not only expected to be active in the simulation in class, by participating in the rounds, but they are also expected to do a bit of their own research outside of class.

The students should be doing their own research outside of class to have knowledge of the real life event. When the kids do this it gives them the upper hand in the simulation and by having background knowledge you know what you should be trying to do and avoid, similar to that of the real life event. Rather than just going in blind and being completely lost. Kids are also required to keep a daily journal of their information/findings, what happened within the simulation that day, and their own thoughts and feelings regarding the simulation.

History Simulation Gaming

The World War I lesson plan is meant to be an interesting and interactive time in the classroom. It allows for students to have a healthy amount of competition and fun, while still learning the importance of the topic. When simulation time rolls around the corner, not only does it get the class excited about the upcoming unit, but the whole school is on the edge of their seats to hear about the events taking place. Simulation time is fun for all students and something everyone looks forward to.