Imperialism Simulation Lesson Plan

Instructor: Laura McNeice

Laura has a masters in Curriculum and Instruction in Social Studies Education and has been teaching for 7 years in North Carolina.

This lesson is designed to be an introduction to the topic of imperialism through the use of primary and secondary source analysis as well as a hands-on simulation to illustrate this process. This lesson is best used with high school students.

Learning Objective

  • The learner will be introduced to the system of imperialism through primary and secondary source analysis.
  • The learner will examine the basic process of imperialism through a simulation activity.


90 minute class period

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.

Lesson Instruction

  • Introduce the topic of imperialism by asking the class if they can think of examples of imperialism. If they cannot come up with anything give some examples. There are many throughout history, such as:
    • Assyrians
    • Persians
    • Greece
    • Great Britain
    • Portugal
    • Germany
  • Have the class create a definition of imperialism and discuss the types of imperialism including:
    • Direct rule
    • Indirect rule
    • Protectorate
    • Sphere of influence
  • Create a DBQ worksheet which contains short primary and secondary sources including readings and images which are designed to introduce the topic of imperialism. (You can search some of the examples of imperialism already given to find sources.)
  • Students should complete sourcing questions for each document:
    • Who wrote or created this?
    • What is the author's point of view?
    • Why was it written?
    • Was it written a long time after the event? Or, was is written during or a short time after the event?
    • Is this source believable? Why or Why not?
  • Review each document as a class to ensure complete student understanding.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account