Document Type

Lesson/Unit Plans and Activities

Publication Date

Spring 4-13-2020




The activity this work presents is designed to both strengthen and evaluate students’ ability to think critically about ancient texts within a Reacting to the Past gaming environment (specifically in the game ‘The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C.’). The activity is part of a preliminary set of assignments meant to improve students’ sense of the game’s historical, social, political, economic, and religious context. Moreover, the activity helps to ensure that students can incorporate texts appropriately into speeches, writings, and general gameplay.

Using the Jigsaw Method of discussion, I organize students into ‘numbered’ (I, II, III, etc.) groups of four in arrangements that maximize diversity in terms of gender, major, and year in the university. I then allot a letter (A, B, C, and D) to each member of these ‘numbered’ groups. Different readings and questions are subsequently assigned based on these letters, and students are asked to organize their answers into an essay that they bring with them to class. In class, students first meet with their fellow ‘letters’, and they share and improve their written answers through workshop-style discussion. Next, they meet in their ‘numbered’ groups, where they instruct their fellow group-members on their individual readings. They are then asked to complete a group writing assignment that requires information from each person (and text). Through this activity, students improve their ability to write, speak, and work collaboratively by teaching to – and learning from – their peers on several occasions.