Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Historical Mingle

Chelsee Wilson, Dr. Shanedra Nowell | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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Historical Mingle

This strategy encourages students to dive deeper into the perspectives of people throughout history in order to understand the "bigger picture."

Historical Mingle


Each student assumes the role of a historical character or eyewitness to a historic event, then mingles with 2–4 other classmates to develop a well-rounded understanding of the incident. This strategy works well when followed by a class discussion to reflect and debrief, with students using a graphic organizer to record their thoughts about their roles and perspectives.


  1. Give each student a slip of paper or a card containing the title of a historical event, the name of a person involved in the event, and a brief blurb or bio of that person. Give students a few minutes to read through their roles. For large classes, some roles may need to be duplicated.

  2. Ask students to stand and mingle with other students. They should introduce themselves as their assumed role and discuss their points of view in-character.

  3. After 2–3 minutes, ask students to find new conversation partners. Repeat this process as many times as necessary. (Students do not need to "meet" every other person in the room.)

  4. Have students return to their seats. Then, lead a brief discussion over their roles, points of view, and how those points of view impacted or influenced the historic event being studied. Optionally, hand out graphic organizers for the class to record notes during the class discussion.