Civ Lab: The Road to Revolution



Using the game for the American Revolution is probably some of my favorite to utilize.  The game environment allows us to simulate almost everything that happened during the time right before The American Revolution.  The results are remarkable and normally I don’t have to do much to incite the uprising once we are done.  


After the war ends, the Mother Country has a problem.  They need funds.  We always have the Mother Country buy troops from the econ classes so they can win, but is comes at a steep price.  So just like in real life, the Mother Country levies taxes on her subjects.  At first the taxes are small and reasonable and my students are willing to pay.  For example the taxes are 10 gold per week from each class.  At this point there is some grumbling about losing money, but the benefits of remaining under the Mother Country’s umbrella of protection is too great to give up.  

As time goes on, the taxes increase for various reasons.  This past year my classes refused to listen to the King’s proclamation of 2014 and continue to attack the native nations.  Some took cities, others burned farms, and some took captives.  I also allow my classes to begin trading with other nations secretly even though their Mother Country had forbidden it to keep the wealth and technology within the empire.  At this point we have started talking about smuggling and how it worked, so the classes were smuggling in things to help themselves go up the rankings.  We just used the game’s interactive trade screen to facilitate everything and the Mother Country has no idea this is going on unless someone tells them or mysterious technologies begin to show up.

After they usually commit these crimes the Mother Country takes punitive measures, like levying more taxes.  This normally creates a response of anger from the students and they end up in a show down with the Mother Country.  In some years all classes have rejected the taxes right away, others pay to keep the crown happy, and some simply ignore the request.  This creates a schism between the colonies and the students within them and simulates the conflict between Loyalists and Patriots.  

After the classes are refusing to pay, the Crown passes more laws that are extreme.  A few examples included the closing of ports, allowing soldiers to enter their homes to eat their food, and of course levying more taxes.  By the time all of this is done, the colonists in my classes are ready to revolt.  I usually wait until they are really upset and a large set of laws that are designed to purposely hurt them come before I let them think about revolting.

Below are a sample of laws that were passed which angered my classes from this year:
Dear Insolent Subjects,

It has come to our attention that you are not paying your taxes.  We have now revised the tax code as punishment:

Mass:  You must pay a breakfast tax.  Mr. Schwarten told us you eat breakfast everyday so however many people eat breakfast X 10 is how much you owe every day.  We are sick of you resisting and not doing what we say. 


NY:  You owe US 200 gold as punishment for breaking the Proclamation of 2014. 


MD:  You owe us the total number of students who go to lunch every day X 10.  Your letter was not ok.  You will pay!


VA:  You owe us the amount of people who go to lunch everyday X 10.  You letter was also not acceptable!  You will pay your taxes! 


GA:  For your constant disregard for the Proclamation of 2014 you owe us 200 gold. 


We expect this all to be paid by the end of the week. 

King Gerald
 
All of this interaction takes place in the game and in their imaginations.  They are working with other classes beside their own to figure things out and their reactions result in consequences on how the other classes from other schools with interact with them.  It is remarkable to watch as they end up playing out almost exactly what happened in US history.  Students will argue over the validation of making decisions to stay or go.  What it will cost them and what it will not cost them.  This year the Mother Country appointed governors from my classes and some of my other students voted to throw them in jail or to execute them.  We just had them sit in a lonely section of the class for the week and had them return, but the message was received by the Mother Country.  War was coming.  

Gamification Collection:

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