This is a great activity that I used after I taught a unit on the colonial era, specifically the Boston Massacre. I used this as a supplementary activity and as sort of a reward for students after going through the meat of the material.
How this works is that I found this website www.mission-us.org and it has three to four programs that have students role play through a virtual, yet historically accurate, environment. Their character is essentially living through a time period of significance.
This particular lesson has them role playing as a character living in Boston during the time of colonial upheaval and they have to interact with characters and answer their questions correctly in order to progress throughout the game. As they play, I have attached a series of questions that they have to answer so that they have a guide of what they have to look for throughout the game.
They run into real historical figures and see the events of the Boston Massacre and colonial life play out in front of their eyes which helps make the material come alive for them.
Afterwards, you can make the lesson more meaningful by having a discussion about the game. Get student reactions, and ask if the game was accurate, why and why not?
Can take from 1-3 days and the 10 questions will last them that long.
The website again is www.mission-us.org. That company created the game and educators just create an account. The activity along with the game was created by me.
I do not include the answers to the questions because it is essential that the teacher plays the game quickly so that they can have a feel for what the students are going to be doing.