Meeting of the Minds


Assemble a group of students who will role-play historical figures for the purpose of a discussing a given topic. Examples might include a dinner party with people from a certain time period, a discussion panel of figures from different time periods who discuss a given topic from their assumed viewpoint.

Instructional Purpose

To learn about important historical events, the figures involved, and the reasons behind their actions. This knowledge will be synthesized into the positions these characters take on the topics presented by the discussion moderator.




Could be used to learn about a definite era of history, a current event, or a common strand that crosses cultures and time, and should provide a different and exciting method of gaining knowledge required by state standards.


Students should have a clear idea of the facts and specific background knowledge they will need in order to engage in the discussion. They should not just be given people or events to investigate, with no idea of the direction that the discussions may take. On the other hand, enough resources should be included that they will be able to take what they have learned and synthesize that information into some unknown areas.


Events could be a TV-like panel discussion, a dinner party with people from different eras who discuss a problem that is common to each era (ex. rights and problems of landowners in feudal England, the French Revolution, and Southern U.S.A. plantations; pioneers from the Oregon Trail, the Spanish Conquistadors, and Okies moving to California during the dust bowl days discussing common problems of re-location).

This Design Pattern was authored by Donna Roberson