I am missing my middle schoolers as I am now student teaching at the high school. Middle school is just so much fun with all the projects we got to do. One of my favorite projects was the charter/township projects the students did. They created their own charters for the "king" to sign, and they were then able to place a pin on "Marconia" (the imaginary New World, named after the teacher of course—my own will be called Jenonia).
After placing their pin on the map, they then were given a limited amount of supplies to build their townships. As they went through the weeks of building their towns, many scenarios were thrown at them. Some days they had run ins with natives, other days a supply ship arrived in which they had to pay for new supplies. In the end they had to survive the winter by completing trivia questions on the Colonial era. Some towns did not survive, and the lone survivors had to migrate to the next town.
They had to be as realistic as possible with their limited supply of construction paper. It was essential to provide shelter, town meeting houses, churches, livestock, crops, roads, fences, wells, and firewood—otherwise their chances of surviving were slim.There was one instance when I played the part of the native. I went to each town and let them know that they were on my hunting ground. They were given a choice to fight or move and become allies, but if they chose to move, that meant starting all over on their town. Those who became allies received help on their winter survival trivia worksheets (in the weeks ahead), those who decided to fight had to answer a set of three questions. If they did not answer the questions correctly, for each answer that was incorrect they lost 10 inhabitants. The fighting was brutal, but most towns survived. There was only a couple groups in each of the three classes that chose to ally with the natives.
Here are some more examples:The students did such a great job on their towns, even though some did not survive. However, the larger towns did much better when it came to fighting off the British in the Revolutionary War.