In my classroom, I used “Reconstructing the South: A Role Play” to cap off our study of the Reconstruction Era. I used multiple lessons from Facing History and Ourselves: The Reconstruction Era Curriculum Guide. This translated into a very dynamic student-run simulation.
My two sections approached the simulation differently, one breaking into small groups to discuss various top priority issues and one electing to do so together. Through telling the stories they created, they advocated for personal possessions very well. The students approached topics of land acquisition, reparations by masters and the government, the right to bear arms, education, jobs, and fear and safety.
All students were asked to write individual reflections. The responses were fantastic. Many shared that in real life they know compromise wouldn’t have been so easy. My school has students from all racial and national backgrounds with a high percentage of international students, so finding common ground and empathy is often difficult. This activity undoubtedly broke through this impasse.