Interactive and engaging History lesson plans
World War I Simulation:
WWI- I just wanted to send you an email and let you know how appreciative I am that you shared your simulations online and allowed other teachers to use it. I work with an “at-risk” student population in an alternative school in Colorado. I have never seen the level of engagement that I got from them doing this simulation ever before. They were asking all the right questions and truly using strategic thinking. Questions like “Why would Japan attack the United States, it’s practically suicide!” and “Well, I don’t know what to do! I’m surrounded on both sides and I have nowhere to go! Should I just give up and retreat into my country? (This was Germany speaking).”Additionally, many of our kids have social deficits and do not know how to properly work together/discuss issues rationally and/or without emotion. Though there was plenty of emotion involved I used this as an opportunity to develop their teamwork skills, as well as their communication skills while angry or under pressure. All –in-all this was one of the most successful units I have completed with my 10th grade class.
I will continue to purchase your products and I thank you again for your dedication to reaching the students on “their level” to help them learn concepts.
WWI- I have, and it is EXCELLENT! The kids look forward to the day's developments and really learn a lot about the progression of the war, and the strategic problems facing all parties. My favorite aspects include:
WWI- Even if the simulation strays from history, we can learn the history by exploring the differences, and what-ifs.
WWI- The pressure for the US to join the war before 1917 is very strong, which is excellent. In most of the classes, entrance by the US brought about a quick end due largely to the potential of the US to bring fresh troop to an exhausted war. Very realistic.
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
WWI- I teach junior high social studies and I was looking for a new and more engaging method of introducing my students to the First World War when I found this world war simulation online. It is not exactly as advertised - it is much letter! I finish the year with this unit and I had my fingers crossed because anyone who teaches knows what those last couple of weeks can be like. Not only did David's simulation force the kids to be problem solvers and critical thinkers, it took their reasoning skills to another level. They had to learn and adapt to situations on the fly and it became such an intense learning experience that they wanted to set up online conferences and meetings after hours to discuss strategy. The simulation also had the added bonus of increasing attendance in those last weeks as no one wanted to miss class. We took the sim right down to the wire and I announced the scores on report card day - it's all they wanted to talk about. There is not a better way to bring your students behind the scenes and give them a taste of what it must have been like in a war room at that time. The sim brings the least engaged student to the edge of their seat and all I had to do is facilitate the discussions and manage the spreadsheet - the kids did the rest without any prompting. The toughest job I had was getting them out of the room at the end of the hour. I would not hesitate to recommend this product to any teacher trying to bring The Great War to life.
Craig Boyce Bedford South School Bedford, NS Canada firstname.lastname@example.org
World War II Simulation:
WWII- The World War Two Simulation is in a word; Outstanding! If you are looking for a higher level learning experience that both challenges and excites, this is it! My students were energized simply watching the instructional videos before the simulation even began. Student engagement, participation and analysis of the strategies employed during the conflict were heightened by your simulation. I found it especially helpful in a block strategy approach where section one covered the interwar years; section 2 the simulation, and section three, a discussion of the actual historical events of the war. Students were excited to compare and evaluate their simulation strategies to those actually used in World War II. It really brought history to life for my class. I also cannot say enough about the HistorySimulation support staff. All my questions and concerns were addressed long before I introduced the simulation to my class. I cannot recommend enough this invaluable teaching tool...a must have for any history teacher.
WWII- These historical simulations have completely transformed the atmosphere in my classroom as we cover 20th Century wars. My students engage in geographical study without even realizing it. I have seen students both engage history as they had previously not done, and work with each other to achieve mutual goals. My students really had to dig; not just into names and dates but into the motives and goals of the different countries, gaining a greater understanding to the underlying reasons behind the wars. My students worked both in and out of class time, using strategy and critical thinking. I highly recommend Historical Simulations for a unique and challenging classroom experience.
Brian McAninch Florida
WWII- The simulation was an enormous success! The kids were so engaged the whole time. By having to constantly look at the map of Europe to plan strategy they now have a MUCH greater understanding of where countries are. They had to use critical thinking skills to evaluate the best way in which to meet their objectives. I had students coming in from last semester asking why I hadn't done this simulation with them. In talking with teachers in my dept. and other students it was clear that the simulation was ALL my students were talking about outside of class. I had students coming up to me after school and in between classes to ask questions on strategy. For the most part, every country worked very hard to meet their goals, even if they did not all reach them. Reading their journal entries on Google Docs was so enlightening. They put so much detail and effort into planning their next move. The journal entries, I think, are an integral part of this simulation as they get practice in writing, using technology, and a way in which to keep track of what's going on. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I will absolutely be using this again in the future. My students are all ready asking me if I am going to be doing the Cold War Simulation for next year. If so, they want to be able to take my class. Thank you so much. The kids think you are an absolute genius for creating this. I will be checking out the Cold War Simulation and might be using that in the fall. Thanks again.
Brattleboro Union High School,
WWII- The simulation was fantastic! It truly exceeded my expectations. It is so exciting as a teacher to have your students actually excited about an assignment and this one filled the bill....There were several teachers in fact, that were glad when the week was over as students were planning their attacks all day long-before they made it to History. Overall, it was great and I believe that they learned more about the strategy behind World War Two that is hard to teach out of a textbook.
WWII- 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.
7-12 Social Studies Teacher
Fessenden-Bowdon School, North Dakota USA
WWII- 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.
Lori IL, USA
WWII- As an American history teacher, I am always searching for interactive lessons that will peak student interest. The World War One simulation was exactly what I was looking for. The students loved it, student engagement was high, and the simulation covered the state objectives. If you need a new plan for teaching World War One, David Harms’ simulations are what you are looking for.
WWII- After using the World War One simulation, my students couldn’t wait for World War Two. The intensity of every decision increases as the students become world leaders. Student engagement is through the roof as every decision could alter world history. There is no better way to teach the Second World War.
Danny Pair AL, USA
History Simulations: 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.
Kayleen, English Teacher IFAHS
History Simulations: 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.
Christy, Spanish Teacher IFAHS
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!
Lisa, Spanish Teacher IFAHS
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.
David Harms, History Teacher
IFAHS, Iowa Falls, IA
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 strategicallymake 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.
Article By Jessi
IFAHS, Iowa Falls, Iowa
Mr. Harms' Simulation of both World War 1 and World War 2provide 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.
Joe - Student
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.
Jacob - Student
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 simulations sparked an interest in history that I still have to this day.
Cole Brannick, Student - Class of 2004
Testimonials: History Simulations