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HIS 131 - American History I: American History Wargame

This course is a survey of American history from pre-history through the Civil War era. Topics include the migrations to the Americas, the colonial and revolutionary periods, the development of the Republic, and the Civil War.

The Battle of RCCC

The Battle of RCCC
HIS 131-132 Sections
Fall 2018

 

            This semester students will engage in a wargame. The students of Mr. Love’s HIS 131 vs HIS 132 will participate in a wargame at Rowan Cabarrus Community College, North Campus on the evening of Thursday September 13 or September 27. (Ideal date is September 13, backup the 27th.)

Premise:

            History is about the process of engaging in the historical method as much as it is about any factual information that one may find. Utilizing the historical method involves locating, appraising, and employing evidence to reconstruct and understand the past. The assignment allows students to participate in every step of this process, as their ultimate assignment is to research and write an analytical paper of a historical battle

The Process:

            Each team will have a flag to defend. The object of the game is to capture the other team’s flag. Students may not use any electronic devices (e.g., cell phones) to communicate.
            On a certain level, the wargame is equivalent to a Civil War-era battle, with low rates of fire and no modern technological devices to aid the participants.
            The only projectile “weapons” allowed are water balloons. Students can utilize whatever non-electrical- or non-gasoline powered devices they wish to help propel those balloons through the air. Each participant will also be wearing a flag football belt, which consists of three colored flags hanging from a waist-belt (I bought the flags in the sports department at a local retail store). A person is declared hit and therefore “wounded” and disqualified from the game if he/she is either struck anywhere on his/her person by a water balloon (it does not have to explode to count as a hit) or has his/her flag pulled off by an opponent. Should they be “wounded,” players must immediately sit or lie at their location and cannot speak for the rest of the engagement.

            Each team will have an appointed captain. The captains are charged with organizing their respective teams as they deem fit and for scouting the battlefield terrain, plotting strategy, and gathering supplies and ammunition. As with any military each team will be responsible for its own procurement of “arms,” any and all budgetary restrictions are comparable to real world limitations. Students will also be responsible for the stocking, prepping (filling the balloons) and transportation of their “arms.” 
           

The Place and Time:
            Students will be instructed on their second week of class of a date within 21 days that the battle will commence. Every student is expected to attend.

Why should I want to win?

            As an incentive to victory the winning team will receive five points extra credit on their Final Examination. This is the only extra credit awarded all year.

            What happens after:

           
In the class immediately following the wargame, each participant will write an account of his or her experience in the battle, either in the form of a letter to a loved one or a more official after-action report. The participants are free to comment on what they observed, felt, or heard at the battle, and they also have full license to censure or praise any fellow team member’s performance as they wish.

            Each member of the class will also write a three-page autobiography so that students can benefit from the biographical in-formation for each participant when they write their histories.

 

The Paper:

            The penultimate assignment is to write a research paper (ten pages minimum) on the battle, answering the historical question: Why did Team X win (or conversely, why did Team Y lose)? In addition, it is required that each student try to account for everyone on the battlefield. This additional requirement more fully engages your historical detective skills. The research for the paper becomes a logic problem, as they have to use the written accounts and few photographs to reconstruct the ebb and flow of the battle, pointing out where each person was along the way.
           
            I will bring together all of the documents into an archival collection assembled from the battle for students to use in their research. Students will be required to spend no less than three hours researching the materials, though they will likely need more time to reconstruct the historical narrative. In order to keep track students will sign a time sheet whenever they “check out” the material. More instructions on this will be given in class.

            Students will turn in their research papers on the syllabus date. Papers will be graded for content, clarity and grammar. Papers should illustrate a clear direction and historical narrative.


 

For Official Use Only


What is needed:
 

  • A series of dates that this exercise could be done on, ideally picking the warmest of these on the long range forecast. Noting that students need at least 9-10 weeks to complete proper research after the battle.
  • Probable transportation to the park so that all students can attend and participate.
  • Outside observers (described below) who would take time to help this project.
  • Cooperation from the library on holding the documents and allowing students to conduct their research. (Tom mentioned he may be interested in this)
  • A permission slip, written by myself, or a form permission document so that all parents know what is going on.


Outsiders:
            Neutral observers, who are typically fellow professors, act as referees during the wargame to make sure that each participant obeys the rules. The observers also are (required) to write their own after-battle accounts of what they saw. In this way, the students have as many eyewitness accounts from observers who had no allegiance to either team. Finally, I procure the aid of one or two people to act as photographers and take action shots of the battle (Observers are totally okay). I cull a select few photographs (no more than twelve) and include them in the research files, so students can utilize them when researching and writing their papers.
 

For Captain Use Only

            Captains are the General of their teams, your orders are only second to the professors. Should I say something is unacceptable it is your responsibility to change it. Should another teacher during the battle instruct you, you are to obey their orders. Otherwise the success or failure of your team predominately lies on your shoulders.

  • Captains are instructed to forward all email and electronic correspondence to me. Correspondences should exclusively be done via email.
  • Captains are instructed the following concerning the battle proper:
    • Captains are responsible for giving any and all orders about safety during the battle.
      • While this is a safe exercise, there is concrete in the park and safe practices must be observed.
    • Flags must be off the ground and fully visible from three directions.
    • Flags must be lightly secured so as a moderate tug can pull them down.
    • Captains may designate a Chain of Command or not as they see fit.
    • Captains are responsible for sharing with their team the battle strategy for their team.
    • Captains are responsible for organizing any “scouting mission” they see fit.
    • Captains are responsible for any budgetary concerns among their teams.
    • Captains are responsible for directing the procurement and filling of their arms.

 

The Wargame Paper

American History Wargame
The Paper

            It’s all fun and games until someone takes a balloon to the knee.

The Journal (10%):
           
Students will complete a journal bridging their time between the beginning of the assignment to their wargame experience.

The Letter (Quiz Grade):

           
In the class immediately following the wargame, each participant will write an account of his or her experience in the battle, either in the form of a letter to a loved one or a more official after-action report. The participants are free to comment on what they observed, felt, or heard at the battle, and they also have full license to censure or praise any fellow team member’s performance as they wish.

The Paper (20%):

            The penultimate assignment is to write a research paper (Eight pages minimum) on the battle, answering the historical question: Why did Team X win (or conversely, why did Team Y lose)? In addition, it is required that each student try to account for everyone on the battlefield. This additional requirement more fully engages your historical detective skills. The research for the paper becomes a logic problem, as you  have to use the written accounts and few photographs to reconstruct the ebb and flow of the battle, pointing out where each person was along the way.
           
            I will bring together all of the documents into an archival collection assembled from the battle for students to use in their research. Students will be required to spend no less than two  hours researching the materials, though they will likely need more time to reconstruct the historical narrative. In order to keep track students will sign a time sheet whenever they “check out” the material. This material will be considered in Special Collections, meaning it cannot leave the library. More instructions on this will be given in class.

            Students will turn in their research papers on the syllabus date. Papers will be graded for content, clarity and grammar. Papers should illustrate a clear direction and historical narrative.
 

 

 

 

 

Project Steps and Due Dates:

            Rough Draft (10/27): Students will turn in a rough draft of their paper with no less than 75% of the paper completed (6-8 pages minimum). This rough draft will be graded for content and grammar to ensure a quality final product. Should the student take the time to offer a polished product at this point, their later work will likely be minimal.

            Final Paper (11/24): Students will turn in the completed project prior to or over the Thanksgiving break

Research Requirements:

            Sources: Students must have at least ten sources. You wrote this history, rarely will history be better provided for you.
            Students may use the internet for their research, if they wish to add addendums about strategies or warfare. However, should any website not on the approved list not end in .edu a annotation will be required in the bibliography as to why this source should be accepted.
Citing Wikipedia in your Paper will result in the deduction of a letter grade, No Excuses.

Citations and Plagiarism:
 

            Follow the citation handout and there shouldn’t be a problem. Plagiarism is a crime and will result in an automatic F. Just don’t do it.
            Better to have a shaky sentence that can be repaired than a solid plagiarized sentenced that will get you an F.
            I will be running these through Turnitin.com consider this your only and final warning.

 

Extra Credit:

 

            Attempting to complete this paper assignment in proper Chicago Formatting will result in up to 10 points extra credit on this paper. Should a student fail to show a grasp or understanding of this format in their Rough Draft they will be instructed to go back to MLA.