In Their Shoes: Exploring Daily Life in Rural 19th Century New England
In Their Shoes game board
In Their Shoes: Exploring Daily Life in Rural 19th Century New England is a board game that offers students much-needed context for understanding and connecting to American History content and issues. The players represent local villagers (based on their town’s census information or provided characters), choose Turning Points Cards (based on historically accurate events), and use primary sources to create a historical fiction version of life in a New England village. Students spend “a century” in the shoes of nineteenth century rural New Englanders doing chores around the barn and home, going to school, trading their hand-made goods for needed resources at the General Store, and tackling social justice issues at an Underground Railroad Station and the Town Hall. The game functions as a simulation and integrated thematic unit, encouraging players to create backstories for their characters, maintain Account Books, and engage in research. This simulation is intended to be an entry point for student-initiated inquiries and research for use with upper elementary, middle school, and even high school students.