This is a set of rules for a simulation game of the Battle of Hampton Roads (1862) from the American Civil War. It was the first naval battle between two ironclad warships.
The simulation was designed to run in 20 minutes with a group of 6 - 8 eighth grade students.
The simulation was played with 5 groups of students resulting in one Union victory, one Confederate victory, and three draws.
The models were made using my Civil War Iron Clad Construction Kit pieces: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1229766
Although the Confederate ironclad is usually called the Merrimack it was actually renamed the CSS Virginia before the battle, and is referred to as such in the rules.
Overview and Background
This simulation was created for an American Civil War activity day in which 8th grade students were divided into groups and rotated through 5 different activities. The simulation had to be short enough to complete in 20 minutes. The other activities in the rotation were: marching, quilting, baking Johnny cake, puzzles.
The groups included 6 - 8 students, but the simulation could easy work with just 2. It will take about 30 - 45 minutes to play the simulation to completion, but if neither side wins in time available the battle is considered a draw, which was the historical outcome.
Lesson Plan and Activity
- Read the rules included here (Battle of Hampton Roads PDF)
- Collect all the materials (see below). Print or make ship models
- Set up the ships on a table or the floor, they should be facing each other about 18 inches apart. Tape the Target Pages to the table or floor
- Divide the class into Union and Confederate teams. The Confederate team should be larger if the numbers aren't even.
- Run the simulation battle according to the rules
You will need models of the ships. You can use the 3D printable models included here, or print the paper models including in the instruction file, or make your own.
Students will need one 6 sided die, a measuring tape or ruler, printed copies of the Target Pages, and a bamboo skewer or similar pointing tool.