History Games and History Simulations

Gamification of the Classroom

     Gaming is making its way into the classroom as a way to engage students and create interest in History.  Gaming can be one of many EdTech tools in your classroom.

Gamification in History

Gaming History In The Classroom


Why should History Simulations / Games be used in High School and Middle School Social Studies Classes?

     History is the act of constructing meaningful, critically researched  and validated interpretations of the past , interpretations focused on:

-Human Motivations


-Effects of Those Actions

History teachers need to move beyond memorizing dates and vocabulary. 

     Although dates are important for sequence and if you don't know the vocabulary you will not understand the history. We do however need to move beyond that and train our students to:

-Evaluate Evidence

-Engage In Meaningful Discussions

-Form Their Own Interpretations

-Construct Valid Criticism of Leader's Decisions

-Understand Situations and Circumstances of Events and the People Involved In Them

History Simulations put the student in situations faced by a leader of a particular event.

     As an example we will use World War I. In the World War One Simulation students are given "Top Secret" Documents that give them a list of objectives that their leader would have wanted to accomplish.  Those objectives are the basis for the decisions they make.  The objectives keep the simulation on track, but students can problem solve to create ways to achieve them.  15 other leaders are also trying to complete their objectives at the same time- some of those objectives are the same!

Source: "Gaming The Past" By Jeremiah McCall

History Games by

American Revolution Game

Imperialism Game

American Civil War Game

World War 1 Game

World War 2 Game

Cold War Game

Additional Information

                        21st Century Skills                                Why Simulations Work                     Common Core Social Studies

General Gaming Articles

Gaming The Past

     Theory, design, research, and use of historical games in and beyond history education. Look here for links to current research, lists of available historical video games, reviews, and essays on a variety of topics connected to historical games. Created and maintained by Jeremiah McCall (; @gamingthepast), teacher, historian, researcher, and author of Gaming the Past​

Video Game Palooza

​​     WE PROMOTE & SUPPORT STEM LEARNING AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION!! Video Game Palooza is a non-profit 501c3 foundation dedicated to motivating interest in STEM research and learning by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games, as well as learning technology solutions to improve their lives.

How Games Can Hook Students With Short Attention Spans

     An article on how gaming can engage kids with Attention Deficit Disorder.

History Tech: Gamification in the Social Studies

     What are the characteristics of a highly effective learning environment? Yeah, I know. It sounds like the sort of question you’d find on your last college ed final. But it’s still something that’s good to think about, no matter how long we’ve been teaching. And here’s the answer: The characteristics of a highly effective learning environment are very much like the characteristics of a highly successful video game.

​Game On: Increasing Learning Through Online Gaming

​     Using games for educational purposes is a controversial issue among educators and parents.  However, many educational researchers and game designers agree that new technology tools must be created to meet today's students' needs.   This page answers the three "big questions" for this project:


-​Online World War I Simulation Blog Post

​     If you are studying WW1 with middle or high school students I cannot recommend this World War 1 simulation game highly enough. The kids LOVED it!! Imagine turning World War 1 into a big online game of Risk! That is what you will be doing.


-Teaching History with Simulations and Game Based Learning (e203)

By Vicki Davis, Ten Minute Teacher

-Reacting To The Past History Lessons incorporating gaming and role play.

Reacting to the Past offers over 20 published titles, as well as dozens of games in development.

(515) 689-3960

Harms LLC
15242 110th St.
Alden, IA 50006

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