I don’t have many fond memories of primary school. But one thing stood out: I always had great history teachers.
One private school I attended had games as an integral part of our history classes, which I would later recognize as what we call “RPGs.” They weren’t on the computer, a lot of pen and paper stuff, but I don’t remember enough details to know if it was something the school itself had put together ad hoc or if this was a formal curriculum the school was using. In 3rd grade, we were pilgrims who came to America (complete with rolling dice to see how well we could bargain with the Native Americans). In 4th grade, we traversed the Oregon Trail (breaking wagons and all). In 5th grade, we fought the Civil War (with more kids on the Union side, so us randomly chosen to be Confederates were guaranteed to lose!).
I’ve tried looking for information on this sort of RPG-curriculum online…I’m left to google word combos like “classroom rpgs american history” and haven’t found much of anything. Anybody know any websites which discuss this sort of teaching method?
And there was me wondering what you were doing with a rocket propelled grenade in the classroom. That is maybe a clue as to your Google fu. They were probably not called RPGs. My usual trick is to try to remember some specifics about the game, and google for that, or search for terms you would expect a teacher to use. Google doesn’t look for things by description, it finds things by what is actually on the page, so Google for something that you would expect to see in the game or in a description of the game, otherwise all you will find are people like yourself trying to find it using a more modern name for a descriptive idea.
For instance: civil war classroom game turns up this as its first hit.
I highly doubt they were sold using the word “RPG”, especially when that referred specifically to Dungeons and Dragons.
If it helps, I definitely remember participating in some of these as a student, although I can’t remember what they were called or even if they had a name. In middle school, we did a Oregon Trail-esque scenario (I built a log cabin dollhouse for it), and in high school the whole school did a medieval fair for a couple of weeks. (I was the alchemist.)
I think we did a westward journey (quite possibly Oregon Trail) RPG when I was in fifth grade. I remember that you had to decide what supplies to bring and you were penalized quite early if you didn’t bring a gun (hey, we were in Virginia). Some kids ended up having to write research papers on snakes because their in-game spouse was “bitten by a snake”.
You might be better off searching for terms like “interactive game” (for the computer-based ones) or “simulation” to find these things. I remember playing computer-based games set in the gold rush, the Oregon trail and conquistadors/explorers.
[spoiler]OOOOOOOOOOOOO[spoiler]OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO[spoiler]OOOOOOOOOOO[spoiler]OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO[spoiler]OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO[spoiler]You shot 3,157 pounds of meat but will be able to carry back only 43 pounds with the help of party members.
You used 512 bullets.
If you continue to hunt in this area game will become scarce.[/spoiler][/spoiler][/spoiler][/spoiler][/spoiler][/spoiler]
Was the Oregon Trail-like game actually Oregon Trail? It wouldn’t surprise me: my school’s computer actually had a fully text-based of Oregon Trail, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was an earlier pen-and-paper version.
(The thing I remember most is when you would go out shooting for food. You had to type the word SHOOT really quickly. I kept not making it, but, once, playing around, I discovered you could just push a bunch of keys on the keyboard and press enter, and it would shoot the food “right between the eyes.”