As a wrap up to the Feudal Games unit my grade 8s have been doing, they participated in a "Black Death" simulation game. You can find the rules and details online bu searching "Black Death bean simulation" I was going to link it here but I couldn't link to the .pdf correctly.
I had told my students about the activity a bit before hand, only that they would participate in the simulation and get an idea of how the plague spread and killed so many people.
The prep work is quite extensive, but well worth it! Luckily I had an SEA in the room the first round, and then our teacher-librarian / resource teacher came by to help re-set the game for the second class.
I will include some basic instructions here, but you should read the online package that goes through it all in more detail.
For me, it was an engaging activity that showed the impact of the plague and led to discussions about how and why the feudal system ended and what that looked like.
I loved the questions and comments students came up with. What a nice way to wrap up the feudal system. After Spring Break they will start a "Castle" unit where they get to research and build castles. My job share partner has so many awesome units to make Socials Studies fun!
Now if you want to try this simulation (LOOK IT UP ONLINE FOR FULL DETAILS).... Here is a brief overview....
Here is what you need:
-24 paper bags (1 for each city)
-24 dice (1 for each city)
-beans... I used black eyed peas for "healthy" stays, black beans for "plague" and redbeans for "cholera". (They recommend white beans, pinto beans and red beans in the directions online, but as long as you let students know what bean represents what result it is fine. You could probably even use something else besides beans as long as they feel the same in shape and size.)
-photocopies of the "journies" and "instructions" and "map"
-a large class map
-put "healthy" beans in each city bag (instructions recommend 200, I used less.
-put the coordinating number of "plague" and "cholera" beans in specific bags (instructions outline which cities get which amount)
-label paper bags with city name
-place bags around classroom with a die in front of the bag
-hand out copies of map, instructions to all and the different journies to each student.
-review in detail - I went over it a few times and had to pause the simulation to clarify.
-Students follow the journey on their sheet (there are 6 different journies so students are at different stations etc.)
-when they arrive they roll the die to determine how many days they stay in that city - that is the # of beans they pull from the bag. If all "healthy" they move on, if "plague" or "chlorea" they mark on their map "infected" and in the next town they roll the die to determine how many "plague" beans to put into that cities bag (infecting the city), the 2nd city after infection is where they "die".
I encourage you to read the online instructions as it is more detailed than this....