Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Scramble for Africa

The Current Game*

Set up: The board is an outline map of Africa. Make it as simple as possible-- a few major physical features (Nile River, Suez Canal, Congo River are all that's on mine) and that's it. Each student is a European nation seeking territory in Africa. I set up six players per board (Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal) giving each player a set of colored construction squares and a goal. The goals are based on the actual goals/empires, for example, Britain is trying to create a transcontinental (N-S) empire. The students get colored squares based on the power their nation, so Britain has the most.

Play: Students take turns placing their squares one at a time to claim territory in Africa according to their nations' goal. They may overlap, and play until everyone has run out of squares. The board at this point will be a jumbled mess of overlaps. That's good!

War: There is no peaceful solution to these territorial conflicts. Like nations throughout all of history, we solve our disputes by strength of arms in the ancient game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. To ensure fairness, all wars must be monitored by the teacher and are best 2 throws out of 3. Loser removes their square and cannot re place it. (I tell them that those soldiers are dead, so they can't go conquer some other territory with their ghosts.)

After you've solved all the wars, it's time to determine the winners. Each nation reveals their goal and we figure out who, if anyone, actually met their goal. Sometimes no one has, and sometimes a few lucky throws lead you to a clear winner.

Wrap Up: I tend to follow this up by displaying a map of colonial territories in Africa ca. 1914 and ask them to do a little compare/contrast between their own maps and the real territorial divisions. Depending on how well your various students play RPS, it can lead to some pretty realistic maps. We discuss how the real map makes sense in terms of the students' goals in game and then move on to the rest of the lesson on Imperialism in Africa. (If you don't teach in the block, that will probably be next period. This does take 30-45 minutes depending on class size and wars.)

Someone else did it Prettier

The day after I taught this lesson this year, I found this Scramble for Africa board game online. There are some serious differences -- their game includes points values for colonies w/preset borders, dilemmas based on historical situations, and a more real win condition. The basic goal is the same.

The Plan for Next Year

Based on my simple game and the pretty one I found this year, I'm going to try to do a SmartBoard version of Scramble for Africa. I will set up the board as a blank Africa made up of hexes, which will change color to be claimed by a country. I still plan on setting national goals, rather than the points-based system, but I will add some scenarios to exploration and probably a movement system. I'm not sure whether I'll keep the conflicts over territory--the creators of the other Scramble for Africa game had a good point about how little violent conflict there really was between European powers. I'm still working on a lot of details, because this will move from being a group game where every student is involved (with 4-6 Africa boards out) to something that is whole-class by necessity of using the SmartBoard.

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* I'm not at work where all my binders/files are because it's break, but when I get back I'll post links to my goals and details of set up if you want them.

24 comments:

jenny said...

Sounds Fantastic! That's how we should be using interactive whiteboards.

Neal said...

Sounds great. I am a big fan of integrating games into the classroom, but I have wondered if most actual board games might be too long/complex/inaccurate/lame. It looks like you've found a good solution, which will happily bear refinement as you use it again and again. Not to mention, this exact model could easily be planted on a number of historical eras involving the clash of multiple countries/cultures.

dan said...

The board game actually was never fully developed. Myself and three others designed it as part of a games and simulation class at SDSU (Ed Tech ) program. I have always considered finishing it, but I wouldn't have time for it! It could take days. I no do something similar to what you do - I might even adapt some of your simulation to round out mine! Thanks for sharing.

Penelope said...

Thanks for all the kudos, guys!

Neal -- actual board games, as tempting as they are, take too long. I keep wanting to play RISK with them, after all, but no time.

Dan -- cool that you responded. I liked a lot of what you did with the game (and wish I could take a class like that!) but yeah, a little too complicated for my purposes. Glad to help.

Brian said...

Please, I would love to see your goals and setup once you are back. I am student teaching this fall, and was planning on doing something along the lines of this or Settlers of Catan for Africa, so I would be very interested to see exactly how you did this. Thanks!

Penelope said...

Brian--
When will you be doing scramble for Africa, you think? I don't get to it until January/February, so that's when I'll have my new version up. I could send you my older stuff if you'd like, though. Send me an email!

Tropicanna said...

I would love to see how you do this. I don't have a smart board though. I think it will be very helpful to me. I'm getting ready to teach this in the next couple weeks. Thanks!

Penelope said...

Tropicanna- My current version is all on paper, no SMARTboard. I could email you instructions for that if you like. Drop me an email!

Rebecca said...

This looks great! Thanks for sharing. Have you created the SmartBoard version this year? Do you have copies of the board you used or the goals for each country from last year?

Penelope said...

You know, I keep meaning to post an update. I'll get that up in the next couple of days.

TyInPhilly said...

Hi, I'm a 9th grade World History teacher and I'd love to do this lesson, but I was hoping you could clarify the goals aspect. What are the countries other than England trying to accomplish?

Diwindchime said...

I'm going to try this with my students next week, after I've taught the foundation lesson on European imperialism. This group is very, very challenging! It usually takes them a long time to settle down. I have found that this segment of World History can be unappealing for students, so I think teaching by using a game is good. I've had them act out a salon for one of my Enlightenment lessons ans the Congress of Vienna. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a fantastic idea and I am starting Imperialism next week. Did you ever develop the interactive whiteboard version? Could you possibly post more detail instructions & goals? Thanks so much for sharing.

Paige said...

I'm not sure exactly how to email you, but I would love to see instructions/paper version of this simulation. Thanks!

Paige said...

Hi! This sounds like a great lesson. Is there anyway to get your goals and other game materials? I can't figure out how to email you!

RavenGrl23 said...

Any chance you still have the original game plan. No smart board for me but your original sounds like something my freshmen would LOVE!!!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have this game finalized? I've tried using the mock-up "pretty" version. Thanks! cenglish@sssas.org

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a "finalized" version? I've tried using the "pretty" version and am curious about the additions. Thanks! cenglish@sssas.org

Kelli Gilbert said...

I can't find your email anywhere, but I would love to have a copy of the goals and other game materials!
My email is kgilbert@sahs1.org

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I would also love a copy of your goals, materials, etc. if you wouldn't mind. My kids would love this and I'm all about visual incorporation in my lessons. embreeshiosaki@gmail.com

Thevirtualteacher said...

Penelope, could you send me your smart board version of this?

Thevirtualteacher said...

If you still have your game could you let me know. I would love a copy.

Anonymous said...

I would also like a copy of your goals. This looks awesome. Can you email out? mkiss@cox.net

Penelope said...

For the version I'm currently using, see the recent post: http://invisibleteacher.blogspot.com/2013/01/scramble-for-africa-redux.html

I never did make a smartboard version due to a variety of complications including getting moved into a room with a non-working smartboard for a year.