Teaching history through games

February 8, 2019 |

Acera School students Kai, Moe, and Liam took the stage at LearnLaunch Institute’s 2019 Learning Innovation Showcase at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston on February 1. The trio presented “Hail Caesar?” — an online multiplayer game they designed and created using Javascript.

Set in 44 BC, the game enables up to six players to take on the roles of Roman senators at the height of the conspiracies against Caesar. Each player has a unique set of goals that he or she must complete to win. The idea behind the game is to help history come to life for today’s students, as well as teach skills such as systems thinking, perspective taking, and problem solving.

The Acera team was one of just 23 middle and high schools from across New England selected to appear at this education conference showcase. The event is part of an annual national conference where educators, entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers can see a range of edtech tools applied in real learning environments.

“We were very pleased to see the impressed reactions of many attendees who visited our table to play the game demo and learn about its development,” said Danny Fain, the lead educator representing Acera at the showcase. “One conference organizer even suggested these students might soon be ready to launch their own entrepreneurial venture!”

“Hail, Caesar?” was conceived and created by students in Acera’s middle school elective class, “Powerfully Playful Programming.” Acera, a nonprofit K-8 STEAM school based in Winchester, features hands-on electives such as science labs, architecture, woodshop, and computer science.

Founded in 2010, Acera engages students in individualized, project-based learning that is designed around their passions and aligned with their own abilities. The school’s Education Innovation Initiative is partnering with other educators and STEM industry leaders to export its curriculum to public schools. In addition to K-8 education, Acera offers daily after-school enrichment programs as well as February, April, and summer vacation camps. For more information, visit aceraschool.org.