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18 October 2015

Simulating History: The 1905 Revolution

Next week, I'm going to be working on a new enquiry with Year 12, which I've called "Why did the Tsar face such a dangerous revolution in 1905?"  The enquiry requires more than just an understanding of the causes of the revolution itself, rather it requires students to be able to account for the timing of the revolution (why 1905?) and to evaluate the threat posed by the 1905 revolution - how dangerous was it and why?  I'm going to tackle it partly by using a simulation activity in which students will 'live through' the development and course of the 1905 revolution.
The activity is very straight-forward.  Students work in small groups together and are presented with a sequence of newspaper front pages, in chronological order.  After they receive each newspaper, they read it and work as a group to draw out i) the main developments and ii) the reaction of the Tsarist regime.

In doing so, students acquire an overview of the development and momentum of the 1905 revolution and an understanding of its key events.  The activity is then followed up with discussion and feedback on:-

a. What were the strengths and inherent weaknesses of the revolutionary movement?
b. How effective was the regime's response?
c. Which moments can be considered as the key turning points in the revolution?

This style of simulation can be applied very easily and successfully to any episode where students are trying to understand the changing course of an event or the impact of turning points in a particular episode.
The resources necessary for the activity can be found in my Russia 1881-1924 resources section here.

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