Document Type

Lesson/Unit Plans and Activities

Publication Date





Given the sudden change to remote teaching only two weeks before the beginning of Spring quarter 2020, it seemed important to find ways involve students in the material of a course using multiple modalities. While Reacting to the Past is already an active learning pedagogy, I wanted my students to have a tactile, rather than just auditory & visual, way of experiencing the material. Therefore, in place of a text book or other materials, students were asked to make or purchase a drop spindle, wool roving, and knitting needles, a crochet hook, or a small weaving loom. This allows them to directly interact with the ideas about the difficulty of hand spinning and clothmaking, and the importance of the transition to mechanization, explored in Rage Against the Machine, a Reacting to the Past game. Students will show off their creations to their classmates during the Elections, the last day of gameplay, which will be conducted as a synchronous Zoom session.


Videos were posted on Blackboard explaining how to spin:

Links to youtube videos and websites about weaving, knitting, crocheting, and spinning were also provided:

  • Once you've finished spinning your own yarn, here are a few ways you can make something out of it:
  1. Knitting -- see this tutorial (
  2. Crocheting -- see this tutorial (
  3. Weaving -- see this tutorial (

I have done only a little bit of weaving, but quite a lot of crocheting and knitting (just started a new knitting project last night... this one is complicated! But anyway, I can help if you get stuck with knitting or crocheting, but only maybe if you get stuck with weaving.

  • Dyeing
Using Kool aid:

Using turmeric:

Yellow (or red) onion skins:

Grape juice: (I'm not so sure about this one... I suspect it will wash out over the course of several months).

Hibiscus: (this also might wash out after a while. Adding potassium alum can help, but not everyone has that sitting around in case they need to dye some wool during a global pandemic.)

Tea & Coffee:

Feel free to search for other dyes using ingredients you already have at home, and please feel free to share!