To increase student engagement as well as cover the content of Ancient Rome, the author developed a game named Civitas for an AP Art History course. The question driving this research project was, "Will incorporating a game into this Ancient Rome unit increase engagement without sacrificing the academic integrity of the class?" Research about engagement as well as others' success incorporating games into the classroom was examined to determine the benefits and difficulties. Much of the work for this unit came before any teaching occurred: designing all aspects of the game as well as carefully determining how it would contribute to measurable learning objectives. The researcher video recorded three AP History courses, with a total of 8 students, over a period of one week. Data collection measures used to determine engagement included a video-recording of the class, keeping a log of engaged behaviors, personal observations, and student free-response questions. Data collection measures to determine evidence of learning content about Ancient Rome included analysis of students' homework, discussions in the class, a multiple-choice test, and an essay test. Upon analysis, it was concluded that playing Civitas greatly increased engagement as well as contributed to the academic integrity of the unit. However, it also took twice as long to engage with the same subject matter, was expensive to produce, and many hours of preparation, which limits the ability to share this learning strategy with others.



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Visual Arts



Date Submitted


Document Type





Civitas, engagement, game, AP Art History, Ancient Rome

Included in

Art Practice Commons