Teaching the Fall of Rome - History Gal

Teaching the Fall of Rome

Light bulb illustration with text that reads Lesson Ideas for Teaching the Fall of Rome

How do you teach the fall of Rome? When I first began teaching, I lectured about all the events and issues that led to the fall of Rome and then gave my students a mini-research project about the different groups of people that were involved in the fall. It was OK. It wasn't horrible, I just wanted it to be more engaging. So, this is what I came up with . . .


Day 1: Hook them with a game. I created a simulation where students randomly choose an emperor profile (based on an actual emperor who ruled during Rome's downturn and fall) and a treasury amount. Then, they are presented with situations where they have to make a decision (they are given several options to choose from).

A decision card from the simulation Can You Stop the Fall of Rome?

The decisions result in the students either gaining or losing gold coins. At the end of the simulation, students tally up all of their gold coins in their treasury and learn whether they were successful (or not) in stopping the fall of the Roman Empire. What makes this so awesome is that students don't realize that while they are playing, they are actually learning about the key events that took place during the collapse of the Roman Empire. And, when they start learning  the actual content for this part of the Ancient Rome unit, they easily make connections to the game they just played and remember the content a lot better!


Day 2: Follow up the simulation with Doodle Notes on the events leading to the Fall of Rome. I love to make Doodle Notes and students love using them! Incorporating visual cues along with students writing down their notes on the pages helps immensely with retention.

Images of Fall of Rome Doodle Notes

Day 3: More Doodle Notes! This time, the Doodle Notes focus on the military, social, economic, and political issues that contributed to the fall of Rome.

Images of Fall of Rome Doodle Notes

Day 4: Wrap everything up with a map activity to help students better understand the invasions that took place.

Image of Fall of Rome Map Activity

Day 5: Student often ask to re-play the game. If there's time, it's a great way to reinforce what they've learned!
*it also works just as well to start with the Doodle Notes and use the simulation on the last day.


If you love these lessons, you can find there here (print and digital versions are both included!):

Product Thumbnail for Can You Stop the Fall of Rome simulation by History Gal
Image of Product Thumbnail for Fall of Rome Doodle Notes by History Gal
Product thumbnail of Fall of Rome Map Activity by History Gal

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