An additional fun possibility for this unit is an immersive, role-playing colonization game. Through this, students can add another immersive, interactive dimension to their learning. Much like a standard role-playing game like “Dungeons and Dragons,” students would use cards and dice to “experience” either colonizing or being colonized during the Scramble for Africa.
Students will start with a map of different tasks in the colonial period of the Scramble. Students will be in groups and each group will choose one of the tasks. Each group’s tasks will then play out on individual maps based on the locale of their task.
One group with be tasked with the ivory trade. They will be in charge of hunting down ivory for delivery to market. They will need to find the best routes through different parts of Africa to find ivory and extract it safely.
Another group will be in charge of territory. They will attend the Conference of Berlin and be tasked with advocating for more land and territory for their country.
A final group will be in charge of defense. Many African tribes and nations attempted to defend their home with force against the invading Europeans. This group will gather resources and attempt to defend against attacks.
There can be several invading colonizers and several African states depending on the size of the class and number of groups.
Some of the game’s outcome will depend on strategy, some will depend on chance. There will be a stack of cards with different actions and consequences that each group will have to choose from based on their assigned task. Some examples will be: “Your ship was attacked by hippos; ship and crew are lost.” “You have murdered a white imperialist; you have saved your village, but this means more will be coming.” “You have lost 16 tons of ivory to pirates.”
This can go in many directions and can look different in every classroom based on the effort of the teacher and involvement of the students. The hope is it will be yet another dimension to immerse students in the attempt to visualize Africa and its history in their imaginations.