Chrono Cards: WWI

ChronoCards is an innovative set of classroom games designed to teach critical 21st century historical thinking skills to middle school students. The games and supplementary activities that surround them are aligned to Common Core standards and dovetail neatly into 7th and 8th grade appropriate content on the causes of WWI. While designed with middle schools students in mind, many of the activities are also appropriate for high school students as well. Each of the games focuses on different historical thinking skills. The playing cards have been designed so that the games are printed on either side of a single deck, making them efficient to produce and use.

The first game, Chrono Scouts focuses on historical narrative, challenging students to build coherent narratives about the causes of WWI out of disparate historical events. The game surfaces the influence of bias and perspective in historical writing and is played by small teams of cooperating students. The game is accompanied by an online video that plays for the entire class and moderates gameplay.

The second game, Fact Fuse, focuses on argumentation skills, prompting students to articulate the relationships between historical actors and events, and make arguments to back up their historical claims. It is played competitively between students in groups.

The games may be purchased as a professionally printed set online here, or are available for teachers to print for free use in their classrooms here. They are accompanied by a teachers guide and classroom play suggestions.

As the PI on the project, I worked with a team of game designers at the lab to develop and iterate the underlying mechanics so that play would align with the desired learning goals. The team also included middle school teachers, students, and historical content experts.

The game is currently available online and has been tested in several classrooms as part of our seed grant from Microsoft Research. The Lab is completed a follow on project with funding from the NEH to develop an American Revolution version of the games, including a a prototype for an iPad version of the games.