I use a couple of the role play lessons from the Zinn Education Project. I have been using them for the last 5-6 years and the students genuinely have fun participating in them. They like how it is a nice break from the regular routines of the class and it gives them a chance to put themselves in the shoes of those at the times being studied.
My favorite of the role play lessons is the People vs. Columbus, et al. and A War to Free the Slaves?. It amazes me how much the students really enjoy participating in these role plays. They really take their roles seriously and will do what they can to make sure their group doesn’t get convicted in the Columbus trial. They seem to retain more from them than they do other activities from the school year. I teach freshmen and when they are seniors and they come back to say goodbye, they always remember the Columbus trial and how it made them view Columbus differently. Hopefully me using these lessons will have a lasting impact on my students when they are done with school to challenge the world around them and never accept the status quo.