Interactive History Lesson Plans
The student interest soars through the roof when they are able to go "hands on" in regard to these simulations. It is a fun and unique way for them to learn what they have been hearing via lecture and video stimulation as well as writing. My students want to go through the simulations again the last three weeks of school as the school year winds down with the many activities that usually are taking place after national testing has been completed. It truly is a great product for most grade levels as I have taught from 8th grade to Sr's.
-Lawton Public Schools,Lawton, OK
One of the more fortunate developments of this school year was to receive an e-mail from Mr. Harms regarding his history simulations products. As traditional, textbook-based learning is becoming obsolete, there is a premium on interactive learning that engages students. History Simulations products do just that. Your students will look forward to these simulations and be unaware how much they are learning as they progress through the simulation because they are having so much fun plotting strategies, developing alliances and anticipating the decisions of others. With surprisingly little prep time, you can use these simulations effectively in your classroom and engage your students. Every history teacher at the secondary level can make great use of these simulations.
I used your simulation with my 7th/8th grade special ed class. I had to go over the timeline for the war with my students first, so that they would have an idea of what their countries were doing in that year. Once we got through the timeline for the year we were doing, my students took it and did a great job of enacting WWI. Most of them really got into the simulation. They were calling the student that Germany as the Troublemaker. They figured out quickly that they had to go after Germany to be able to meet their objectives. They did a great job. They want more, so I got the simulation for WWII and we're going to do it again.
Over the years, I have heard more about the World History Simulations than any other lesson in any other class. The students are fired up about it and cannot wait to participate. The Simulations provide a hands on experience that meets the needs of all students. They absorb the information. They strategize. They Learn. It's a total package.
Mr. Harms' war simulations are very popular with the students. The students get very involved and will strategize and collaborate every spare moment as they work through the simulation. The students are always excited to do another one.
Student - "Can you believe that she declared war?"
Me - "Who? Where?"
Student - "In World History."
Me - "Let's discuss Spanish, please."
Student - "Mrs. Buss, we shouldn't have any assignments in any of our classes while we are doing simulations in Mr. Harm's room!"
"Excuse me," I ask.
Student - "This is the only thing we care about right now. It is so much fun!"
Me - (note to self), Thank you Mr. Harms!
History For Kids
I have been using and developing history simulations since 1992. When I first started using these history simulations, I learned quickly to organize an order of turns because students were literally running to class. Many teachers have commented on how excited students were and that a lot of spirited discussions were happening all over the school. A lot of parents had commented that this was the first time their kids had discussed what was going on in school and had asked their advice on what they should do. Students learn to problem solve as they work with other countries to achieve their objectives.
I graduated almost 12 years ago already and still remember playing this game in Mr. Harms class. This simulation kept all of our attention everyday and was very fun to play. It is a great history lesson. It really teaches you how leaders have to think. How easy it is to make the wrong decision, and what the impact could be. This is a very good/powerful learning tool for students. More than just history, this game teaches you many other things like how to treat people. Also, how to manage subordinates in the work place without getting power hungry. Finally, this game is what started my interest in history so much and could be a part of why I joined the military. I am very grateful for the time Dave Harms put into this simulation and how devoted he is to his students. I highly recommend this game as a teaching tool! Thanks again Mr. Harms. Blake, Alden High School, Iowa
GET YOUR WAR FACE ON
All through the building you hear the victorious shouts after a battle has been won. This is the time of year for lots of action in the world history classroom of Mr. Harms due to simulations. Anyone in the high school who hears that word gets giddy with excitement during this time. The time of reenacting the two World Wars.
Mr. Harms came up with this one of a kind idea and put it into practice about 20 years ago. The start of the simulations is quite exciting, that might be due to Mr. Harms’ vivid excitement, but you start by picking your poison. There are major countries, like Germany, smaller countries, like Greece, or you can be a foreign minister of a country and that title gives you the lead role in deal making and negotiation. The foreign minister role was just added this year.
Brittney H. said, “I was a foreign minister and was not very excited about it, but it turned out to be a lot of fun,” about the new role she got to play. While students get to put their two cents in, Mr. Harms makes the final decision, and gives each student the role he believes he/she is cut out for. There are six classes of World History and each class plays out a little differently based on who puts on their war face and is ready for battle.
After everyone receives their roles, they get their country’s binder and learn their objectives. They have to play by their objectives. In order to get a good grade, they have to try and complete their objectives. This is how Mr. Harms controls the simulation so that the real feel for how things played out is portrayed.
As we all know from the true history of the World Wars, there are two sides, the Allies and the Central Powers. So in the objectives for each country, students are given points to be on one side or another, but that doesn’t stop people from making secret alliances.
The simulations can come between friendships, change where kids sit at lunch, these simulations don’t just stay in the classroom. Some kids plot and scheme and lose sleep trying to strategically make their plans to take over the world. “I got way more into it than I ever expected to. It was actually really intense,” said junior Delaney V.
The idea came to Harms when he was student teaching. “The original simulation I saw was about six fictitious countries, and it was mostly just showing how alliances affect war,” said Harms. Harms started out using that idea, but after only three years, he turned it into its much larger idea that he uses today. “I brought in the binders, the objectives, the maps, the navies. I wanted this to be the real deal,” said Harms and that is definitely what he has done.
Mr. Harms' Simulation of both World War 1 and World War 2 provide both an educational and incredibly fun way to learn about both World Wars. You get a sense of what it was like having to make decisions that either spell out for good times for your country in the future, or seal your doom and lose. I can safely say that I love history, and I thought I knew quite a bit about both World Wars, but this gave me a whole new light on to what it was like to make those decisions and the pros and cons of each decision. Everyone in my class loved the simulation, and took a lot from it.
The World History Simulations
The World History Simulations were probably the coolest thing I did in my high school career. The best part would probably be the strategy that it takes to do the simulation. It is amazing how consumed many students become with this activity. The whole week you participate in this simulation, it is usually all you hear about outside of class. Who will align with whom? What country should we take next? If I was offered to do this on a regular basis, I would agree to this whole heartedly.
If you talk to the upperclassmen about this simulation, the majority would say it was probably the highlight of their four years in high school, including me. Not only was it fun, it actually taught me things as well. You learn how difficult it is to reason with others, and where you need to send troops for support to protect land, and how many troops you need to takeover land. Also, the unexpectedness of the simulation adds to the game. Betrayal is just the name of the game. You don't know what people need to do for their objectives, and it could turn out to be that they need to betray you. It just adds to the intensity of the game.
The objectives you have to do in the simulation also teach you how your country was involved in the war. Your objectives are a reflection of what your country did in the war. I really appreciate the educational aspect of the simulation, along with how fun it is. The World History Simulations are an experience that shouldn't be passed up.
The simulations we did in Mr. Harms' history class were exciting, fun and educational. I was able to truly understand the magnitude of World War II. The simulation motivated me to research in my free time and pay closer attention to historical details. To this day, I still feel that I have a much greater understanding and knowledge of history due to the simulation. The simulation sparked an interest in history that I still have to this day.