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Kansas, 1999: Evolution or Creationism

by David E. Henderson and Taz Daughtrey

Should Kansas students learn about Evolution and the Big Bang Theory?

Christian Conservatives on the Kansas Board of Education have deleted macroevolution and Big Bang cosmology from the state science curriculum. The game centers on the election of a new Board of Education which must, for legal reasons, revisit the decision. Students will campaigns for office through press conferences, sponsored debates, and are encouraged to involve the larger campus community in the issues. Following the election, the Board meets to resolve the science curriculum issue.

This game raises many questions about the role of religion in American society, the power of religious fundamentalism in the modern world, and the nature of science. Faculty can tailor the course to focus more on issues of civil religion or on modern Cosmology and evolutionary theory.



Cultural and Social History; History of Science and Technology; Philosophy, Political Science and Government; Religion; STEM


20th Century; Contemporary Era

In a Few Words

Science vs. Religion

North America

Player Interactions 

Factional, Competitive

Sample Class Titles
FY Seminar

Level 3 game (what's that mean?)

Notable Roles

Patrick Hill, Dr. Dane Holtzman, Eloise Lynch

Rolling Dice, Differentiated Voting, Formal Podium Rule

Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
This game is mildly chaotic and mildly demanding on the instructor.

Primary Source Highlights 
Darwin, Origin of Species; Hume, Dialogues on Natural Religion; Margulis, Microcosmos

Using the Game

Class Time  
For this game, 2 to 3 setup sessions and 5 to 6 game sessions are recommended.

Possible Reacting Game Pairings
This game can be used on its own, or with other games. These pairings are meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive or prescriptive. Kansas, 1999 may pair well with:

You can adjust the assignments based on the desired learning outcomes of your class. This game can include traditional paper/research/thesis-driven writing and science writing. All roles are required to give formal speeches.

Class Size and Scalability
This game is recommended for classes with 12-30+ students, although it has also been played in large classes of up to 60.


Reacting Consortium members can access all downloadable materials (including expanded and updated materials) below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading.  Basic game materials (Gamebook, Role Sheets, Instructor's Guide, and Handouts) are available to any instructor through the publisher. 


Students need a Gamebook, which includes directions, resources, and historical content.


Role Sheets and Add'l Materials

Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, role-specific resources or assignments, and their character's secret victory objectives. 

Instructor's Manual

The Instructor's Manual includes guidance for assigning roles, presenting historical context, assignments, activities and discussion topics, and more.  


David E. Henderson

David E. Henderson is Professor Emeritus at Trinity College (Connecticut). He is the author of several Reacting game modules on science, public policy, and religion.

Taz Daughtrey

Taz Daughtrey leads cybersecurity education at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg. He previously taught at James Madison University, primarily undergraduate and graduate secure software engineering, and managed grant-funded statewide service and academic research projects. He is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, Founding Editor of its peer-reviewed quarterly journal Software Quality Professional, and Director of the American Software Testing Qualifications Board.


Members can contact game authors directly

We invite instructors join our Facebook Faculty Lounge, where you'll find a wonderful community eager to help and answer questions. We also encourage you to submit your question for the forthcoming FAQ, and to check out our upcoming events


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Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal, and the Rise of Naturalism, 1861-1864

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The Trial of Galileo: Aristotelianism, the "New Cosmology," and the Catholic Church, 1616-1633

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Climate Change in Copenhagen, 2009


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