Reacting to the Past is an active-learning pedagogy that places students at the center of the classroom by having them represent important figures and factions from particular historical moments in a role-immersion game! You will use persuasive writing and public speaking to accomplish your character and faction goals, drawing from relevant primary sources in order to formulate successful strategies that will lead you to victory. RTTP games are designed and field-tested by experts, who have designed a wide variety of  scenarios for history, classics, literature, religion, political science, and STEM courses.

You can explore our website, starting with our How It Works page! More information can also be found at Barnard College's Reacting site.

Numerous studies have found that RTTP enhances student motivation, critical thinking, moral reasoning, and consideration of divergent perspectives, as well as having a profound impact on student and faculty growth and independence (check out our Impact page for some data). Also—it's fun!

Reacting to the Past is an implementation of active-learning pedagogy, designed to place students at the center of their own learning. 


Prior to beginning your particular Reacting game, your gamemaster will give you more details about your character, your faction, how the game will run, etc. On the first day of Reacting, your gamemaster will help walk the class through their first assembly before students take over and give speeches, defend their faction, and plot for victory!


Be prepared to read lots of primary sources, gain a deeper understanding of your character, and foster meaningful relationships with your classmates and instructor alike. Above all else, be prepared for nothing to go how you expect it to go. 

UGA's Reacting to the Past website has a number of helpful resources. Barnard's Reacting to the Past website also contains useful information. Finally, make sure to ask your PLAreactor or the Game Master for help!

All PLAreactors have already had experience with Reacting to the Past, sometimes even with the very game that's being used in your course! This means that they are an excellent resource for you and your faction for advice on strategy, speaking, writing, and research.

For each Reacting class, it is important to read through any materials assigned by your gamemaster, to prepare any speeches you have to give, and research the topics for class thoroughly.


The last two pieces of preparation may include finding and reading sources not explicitly assigned by your gamemaster so that you have the best chance at arguing your points and eventually winning the game!

First, remember that you and your character's views are not the same. You and your classmates know that your character's views are not necessarily reflective of your own. 


Second, Reacting to the Past is designed to give you an authentic knowledge of history. Acquiring this authentic knowledge means being able to understand many different viewpoints, even those that are repugnant and offensive. 

With these things in mind, it is important to represent your character as truthfully as possible without being disrespectful to your classmates. For example, if you are playing a character that opposes the Civil Rights Movement, it is not acceptable to use slurs when making your arguments.


If you ever find it difficult to distinguish between playing your character truthfully and being disrespectful, please reach out to your PLA or Game Master for advice!

If you're interested in enrolling in another course that uses Reacting to the Past, you can use our Courses page to help you find one. If you want to take your involvement with Reacting to the next level, check out our PLAreactor page!

Feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer any remaining questions you might have!