Mr Mrroughton Assignments

I've recently finished creating a classroom decision-making game based on the fall of the Roman Empire. If you've played my 13 Colonies game it will look fairly familiar. 

I have yet to play this one with students but I've tested it myself and it all seems to work properly. I'll be playing it with my kids next week so I'll update from there. Until then, enjoy Provide or Conquer!

Provide or Conquer

Time to play: 45 minutes

Materials:Scoresheet, game presentation, projector

Set up: Either print scoresheets for each team or provide them with the electronic version. The electronic version is highly recommended as it will track points automatically for students.

How to win:

-The goal is to earn as much gold as possible by the end of the game.

-Gold is earned each turn based on the team’s population. Tax is collected at a rate of 5 gold per population each turn.

-Gold can also be earned at various decision points in the game but tax collecting is the primary method.

Game Terms:

-Order: A representation of how peaceful and safe your nation currently is. It has very minor effects during the game but a huge effect at the end. Players should not be told how Order will affect them.

-Population: A representation of the size of your nation. More people means more opportunity to collect taxes. For the Romans expansion was essentially necessary. They needed the spoils of war and increase tax collection to pay for their massive government projects.

-Gold: A representation of the power of your nation. While not necessarily a good one it was often how nations measured themselves in relation to one another. Plus, it’s easy for kids to understand that more gold is better than less gold.

How to play:

1.Divide students into teams. Any size would work for this game. It can be played individually but debating choices amongst the team is more valuable.

2.Begin Round 1: 50 B.C.

3.To start the round teams choose to Provide or Conquer. This decision is recorded in the second column on the score sheet by writing either “Provide” or “Conquer.”

a.Provide is based on the idea of “bread and circuses” which the Roman emperors used to pacify the people.  This choice adds 1 Order to the team. This is recorded in the third column (Order Change) of the score sheet by writing “+1.”

b.Conquer simulates Roman conquests of barbarian tribes. This choice adds 2 Population to the team but subtracts 1 Order (Order can, and often will be, negative.) This is recorded in both the third and fourth columns of the sheet.

4.Once all teams have made and recorded their choice reveal the first Event.

5.In this event Julius Caesar has just conquered the Gauls. Your teams must decide what to do with the conquered people. They will choose A if they want to accept them into the empire or B if they want them kicked out. There is a 30 second timer than you can start at any point if they are taking too long to decide. Their decision is recorded in column 5 “Event Decision” on the scoresheet.

6.Once all teams have recorded a decision or time has run out reveal the results on the next slide. The results are designed to reflect historical reality of their choices. They record any losses or gains in columns 6, 7, and 8.

7.If you are using the electronic sheet the 50 B.C. round is over, the spreadsheet calculates all points automatically. Repeat for the remaining rounds. If you are on paper it’s now time to do math.

*This is possible to do on paper. I’ve done a similar game before. I wouldn’t recommend it. It makes the game take at least twice as long. But, if that’s your only choice here’s how to do it:

a.In column 9 “Order Total” teams calculate their Order lost or gained for the turn from both of their decisions. They start at zero so this turn they just write whatever the change was.

b.In column 10 “Population Total” they do the same but they start with a Population of 5. So, a team that had +2 Pop in column 4 would write a 7 (5 + 2) in column 10.

c.In column 11 “Taxes” they multiply their total from column 10 by 5. In the above example, they would write 35 (5 x 7.)

d.In column 12 “Gold Total” they write their total gold so far in the game. At this point this number will be the same as the number in column 11 Taxes.  Next turn, however, they will add their previous turn’s gold to any gold earned that turn (through taxes or event decisions) for their new total.

8.Plays continues until the final round, 476 A.D. At this point final checks are made based on the Order stat. Final gold calculations are made and a winner is declared.

History Mystery labs are self-contained 1 hour lessons designed with the Common Core for Social Studies in mind. In each of them students examine a variety of sources of information to reach a conclusion. They involve both primary and secondary sources as well as integrating multiple forms of information presentation from maps to video clips. Students must defend their conclusion with cited evidence from the exhibits. 
They all address the following CCSS standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1 - Citing textual evidence
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4- Content Vocabulary
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7 - Integrating multiple sources
The labs are highly engaging and are one of the few opportunities students are given to truly be historians. 
Historians have long believed that Meriwether Lewis committed suicide shortly after his famous journey with William Clark. Recent discoveries have led to some questioning that conclusion. Could he have been murdered? Could the government have been involved?

When 15 soldiers mysteriously disappear what is one to do? Well, settle in their former home of course! In this mystery involving the first English settlement in the New World we will attempt to determine what happened to the over 100 settlers who, briefly, called Roanoke their home. Did they safely escape to live with friendly natives? Were they secretly attacked by the Spanish? Let's find out!
Determine the cause of the disappearance of the Classic Maya by examining soil samples, reading first hand accounts, analyzing skull fractures and listening to an interview with the world's leading Maya archaeologist. Could the cause have been as simple as a massive famine or as mysterious as an alien invasion?

Law and Order: Cathay

Did Marco Polo really travel to China in the late 1200s? The people of his own time had trouble believing his incredible stories of gigantic palaces and black rocks that burned like wood. Some historians today struggle with his descriptions of strange beasts and men with heads like large dogs. Plus, how could one live in China for 20 years and not even mention The Great Wall? Find out by examining pages from Polo's original text, learning more about Mongol rule of China and investigating just who exactly Rustichello da Pisa was.


Cold Case Rome

Imagine a murder of the world's most powerful man witnessed by dozens. Who would be so bold as to plan such an event? The commonly accepted theory is a group of senators conspired to do the job but there are many holes in that theory. You will find out by hearing from some of the world's leading historians, reading Caesar's own words in the days before his death and listening to the defense testimony of one of the senators. Your conclusions may shock you and change your understanding of the incredible Julius Caesar.



In a church on Easter Sunday of 1478 an attempt was made to wipe out the Medici dynasty in one single attack. The attack was only half successful. We know who the attackers were but we do not know who organized the clearly well-planned attack. You will attempt to find out by decoding a secret letter, listening to witness testimony and exploring why some people might have been angry enough at the Medici to commit murder. Your suspects include a powerful rival family, a former employee of the Medici and the pope himself!

House: London

While no longer a mystery today (or is it?!) the reasons for the spread of the Black Death in Medieval Europe were unknown at the time (and for hundreds of years later.) Most at the time believed it was God's punishment for various sins or for failing to retake the Holy Land.

Examine the effects of pet exterminations and Medieval protective clothing . Review nursery rhymes and maps to get a sense of the dread of the pestilence and try to determine what made it so violent. Put yourself in the shoes of an biohazard investigator and figure out how we might prevent this disease from ever rising again.



The medieval West African empires were built on trade. They had massive reserves of gold that they used to bring in materials and goods to make them prosper. In this lab a new mineral, halite, is being introduced to Africa. Will it be worth more than gold? You will examine a deadliest warrior battle, an old fairy tale, modern magazine ads and even a jar of human sweat and decide what value to set for this new mineral.


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