Games for World History: A Pacing Guide

I’ve got a bunch of games for world history class and if you like more than one of them, you may be asking, “when will I have time?”

Here are my suggestions for some of my games in my TpT store.

  1. Teaching with Monopoly

This is the game I would start with. I would introduce this game in the beginning of the school year and maybe even in the first two weeks. That’s because students are going to be asked to know and understand various economic systems but they most likely haven’t ever considered economic principals.

Teaching with Monopoly helps students understand the concept of budgeting, income, income inequality, and debt obligation. These are all components that will contribute to the economic successes and failures you will cover in your world history class.

I suggest playing in the beginning of the year with the basic game play. Play a second time around the holiday season and use one of my special scenarios. Play a final time towards the end of the year and again, use a special scenario. The game also works well for substitutes.

You will need to provide enough Monopoly games in order to use the resource. The resource in my store does not provide any game components.

2. Teaching with Chess

Chess is one of the world’s oldest games and it fits remarkably well into your feudalism lessons. The game itself is a manipulative of feudalism. Each piece represents a social class and this is a lesson your students are certain to remember forever.

This resource includes a streaming TpT video that covers the history of chess and connects it to feudalism itself. Students then should be allowed to spend a day playing chess. Learning the pieces, the setup, and basic game plan will help them cement the information from the unit.

This game really only works for your feudalism unit but on those particular days when you aren’t doing anything (no judgement, they happen) guaranteed, some of your students will be begging to get a board out.

3. Senet

Not strictly necessary for teaching ancient Egypt but certainly a fun addition to your class, Senet will be the cheapest game you can prep for your students. This resource includes instructions for the world’s oldest board game, the briefest history (because we don’t know much), and instructions for setting up the board.

Game pieces can be coins, paper clips, or whatever else is lying around. You will need to have paper to print, tape to attach two pieces of paper together, and you will need to buy crafts sticks which are super cheap at craft stores.

I recommend using this for one half of a class period just to switch it up. It is easy to play and students can then say they played the world’s oldest game. Play like an Egyptian! This is also a fun substitute lesson and for rainy days.

4. Asian Game Bundle

Too many history teachers are Euro-centric and don’t add any fun to the Asian history units. This game pack includes games for Chinese, Japanese, and Indian histories and I created them to use the same information. This makes it easier to play a different game but with the ability to keep reviewing the same information, making it more likely students will remember it.

Games include puzzles, woodblock games, and BINGO.

I would use the puzzles for the earliest Chinese dynasties, the British Raj, and the Meiji period.

I would use the woodblock games as reviews and have students sort the prompts by time periods.

I would BINGO as a whole-group review session to help give you an idea of what students remember.

The image below links to the full bundle but each resource is available individually. Once on the TpT site simply click on the resource you want to see in the bundle.

5. Who is it? World History

Remember all of the names can make students heads spin. Challenge them with a guessing game. Students will ask identifying questions as they work through a selection of possible choices. You can purchase the name brand person guessing game and insert the names instead or you can create a folder game.

I played this with students as a whole-group. It was always a blast and really got students invested.

I would use these as end-of-semester and end-of-year reviews.

The full bundle includes world history volumes 1 & 2, women’s history, and Asian history. They can be purchased individually too once you get to my TpT store.

6. Tournament of Technology

This is another game I would play throughout the year. If I ever go back to the classroom I will absolutely play this game on day one but I’m a game-playing teacher.

I do recommend playing this in the first grading period, again around the holiday break (before or after), and before the big review process begins. Answers will differ as students move through the curriculum and as they become more comfortable with each other and you they will even begin to debate each other. The conversations that could be had are endless. And the best part of the game is it will be different every single time you play it.

I also like encouraging teachers to play during basketball tournament time. That is what inspired this resource in the first place.

Tournament of the Arts is the same concept but focusing on art. This is a great way to introduce students to some of the world’s greatest works of art.

Tournament of Asian Art is also available because I fear that students will choose a European work of art over an Asian simply because of familiarity. Asian art is beautiful and not nearly focused on enough in American schools. Learn about some spectacular pieces of art.

7 & 8. Teaching with Pit and Tulip Mania

The games are similar which is why I am listing them here together but they are different enough that I have two different resources.

Pit is a game you will have to buy enough of for students to play. Tulip Mania is a game I invented and you will have to assemble every aspect of it. It is prep-heavy. Pros and cons.

Teaching with Pit focuses on the stock market. Students will learn the history of the stock market before they begin trading and trying to corner markets. There is shouting and bell ringing. Students will have a blast.

Tulip Mania teaches students about the tulip mania of the 17th century and focuses on the concept of being swept up in a frenzy, buying and selling, and beating the fallout. I make all my friends and family play it and they always say the same thing. “That was so much fun.”

Although Tulip Mania was designed around the actual historical event, I made sure it taught other economic principals students should know. I would play it again when you get to the 20th century. This is definitely a second semester game.

Teaching with Pit is another second semester game that works best when you get the 20th century and are about to cover the Great Depression.

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