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Using DOWNSPIN Game to Explore History

American Mensa and Hasbro have joined forces to celebrate learning. With that mutual goal in mind, Hasbro is relaunching some of its classic children's games, each featuring the Mensa For Kids logo and identifying learning elements for game-palyers. In conjunction, is featuring lesson plans that enhance a child's learning experience using game play as well as other activities that focus on learning elements highlighted in the Hasbro games.


Why did the chicken cross the road? That question has been asked for centuries. Everyone implies that there was a reason that the chicken has to have crossed the road. Do you think there was? Is it possible that the chicken was walking along and there just happened to be a road and it crossed it, or do you believe that there was an event or occurrence that happened to lead the chicken across the road? Take three minutes and write your answer.

This what is known as an open-ended question. This means that there is not a simple answer. The answer is open to your interpretation of events.

Learning Objectives

What students will know and be able to do by lesson’s end:

  • Analyze detailed series of events to determine if earlier events caused later ones or just preceded them.
  • Determine the central idea of a primary or secondary source.
  • Provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of text or events.

Key Background Knowledge

  • 9th- and 10th-grade history
  • How to play the game


  • Games
  • Paper
  • Pen

Key Vocabulary

Open-ended answer • Interpretation • Sequence • Critical thinking • Predict

Guided Practice

Most of history involves a series of events and you will need to use your critical thinking skills to predict the sequence — if there is one — of the events. Explore that idea using the DOWNSPIN game to learn to see how one idea/choice/action can influence or impact results several moves/days/centuries later.

Get into groups of two and play the game. Write out how the game can be compared to a great battle in history.


Determine the shortest amount of moves you could make to win the game.