Alternative History


Hypothesize about fictional realities in which historical events turn out different from our own. Extrapolate a chain of cause and effect which that one difference would create.

Instructional Purpose

To develop understanding of a historical event; and predict how events would be transformed




This design is appropriate for situations in which depth of understanding of a period of history is a high priority. To extrapolate into the future requires a knowledge of the forces at work in society how they interact with other forces.


This is probably best used with older and more advanced students. Trying it with those whose knowledge base is superficial might simply compound their misunderstandings (though it would be fun).


Start with a description of the present day that never happened (China was first to the Moon; or the Soviet Union flourished) and identify a pivotal moment in the past that would have brought that reality into existence.

This Design Pattern was authored by Bernie Dodge