Cases in the Civil War GBS fall into three rough categories. Some cases summarize and describe specific events of the period, including the first battle of Manassas, the Gettysburg Address, and the rise of the Know-Nothing Party. These types of cases are best presented using a combination of text, video, and diagrams. The second type of case in the Civil War GBS involves the source material historians use to reason about the past. These snatches of data on the period include news accounts, interviews with survivors, period maps, and so on. Finally, there are cases that describe the actions the student can take, and their consequences at any given point of the simulation.
This discussion of the design of a Civil War GBS may have a dry flavor to it--discussions of designs often do. But the result is that we have a picture of how we can help a student learn to "do history" and become familiar with an important era in American history by playing President. Picture a typical student sitting in a typical mainstream elementary school listening to a typical history lesson. Would that child rather be in the class or using the Civil War GBS? Where would that child learn more? It seems clear that by interacting with the material of history, and actually using it, the child comes away with far more knowledge.
A Biology Curriculum of GBSs
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