Fifth and sixth grade is learning about European colonization of Africa in the later part of the 19th century.
After learning about the rise of important civilizations in Africa, we did this simulation to help students understand some of the economic motives behind European colonization. Student groups were formed into different countries and world powers of the time period. Using lengths of yarn, they were tasked with claiming different areas of the continent as they would have been relevant to their country’s interests of the time. Students were appalled by the amount of space that Europe occupied, and the message about "how unfair" this history is came through with great impact.