Dinner party held in U.S. History classes

Role-playing as historical figures to discuss Progressive Era


Gurleen Swaich

To understand the Progressive era, juniors in Jessica Kelly’s U.S. History classes periods two and seven, role-play as important historical figures during a ‘dinner party.’

“I want to get the students talking as if they were real characters from the past and getting knowledge so that they can actually have a conversation like they are from that time period,” Kelly said. 

Students were given a list of potential figures and were allowed to pick whichever person they wanted. They proceeded to research their specific person’s views on government issues. 

“I’m researching on the Wright brothers, and I learned that they’ve impacted the outcomes of WWI because of the invention of the planes,” junior Laurenz Maoceros said. “This project really helps me learn about historical people through a fun project because we get to interact with others through a ‘dinner party’ and act out our character.”

During the discussion students will talk about different issues, such as women’s suffrage and students will be graded based upon their participation and research. 

“This project is helping me because we get to embody a character,” junior Katrina Gorospe said. “We get to be interactive and learn by using our own research to learn about topics like women’s suffrage. My character is Carrie Chapman Catt and I’ve learned a lot about how she was the person that got women the right to vote.”

The Progressive Era ‘dinner party’ will lead into their next topic, World War I.

“My favorite part of this project was seeing students talk about their character as if they are the character and confronting other historical people that had something to do with their topic,” Kelly said. “By doing this project, I want students to know that history can be fun and the lives of these people mattered and got us where we are today.”