Black Death Investigation

Each year I’ve taught 6th grade, I have done a fun simulation activity for the Black Death that I just LOVE.  You can see my previous post about that by clicking HERE.  I fully planned on doing that this year, but because our curriculum maps for Social Studies and Language Arts have a lot in common, the LA teacher beat me to it.  Needless to say, I was very disappointed because this activity is what gets me through the year.  I seriously love doing it with my students so much that I maybe cried just a little when I found out they had already done it in another class.  Don’t judge me.

So, I had to come up with something else to do that would get me excited to teach the late middle ages.  I found a free product online from Mr. Roughton’s website.  If you haven’t been to his website, he has a lot of amazing resources that he shares with teachers on tons of world and US history topics.  The product is called ‘History Mystery: Black Death’ and the students were playing the role of FBI investigators trying to determine whether or not the Black Death was really caused by the Bubonic Plague like many people believe.  I liked how much inquiry was involved and since we’re an AVID school, we focus on using WICOR with every lesson: Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Rigor.

I, of course, had to add my own flair to the mix.  I put all the exhibits into file folders with labels as if they were really FBI documents.  I burned a few of the documents to make them look old before laminating.

Oh yeah, and I made myself a cape and plague-doctor inspired mask.  It
was awesomely creepy.  If you’d like to make your own, I modeled mine
after this tutorial
online.  The instructions weren’t very detailed so I felt like I was
winging it most of the time, but I think it turned out really well!

Overall, my kids really enjoyed it.  I still think I like the other simulation better, but it’s nice to have back-up activities in case of emergencies.  If you haven’t seen this activity before, be sure to check it out on Mr. Roughton’s website. Hope everyone is hanging in there.  Only 2 more weeks until Spring Break for us and then it’s the final stretch.  Can’t believe this year is almost finished already!

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