2 boys with ipods

"This is really cool and it builds connections from the field trip to what's going on back at school. It's a great way to cement learning."

-Middle School Teacher

What Is Play the Past?

Play the Past is a new and engaging student-directed field trip experience supported by technology. Students use iPods to explore the Then Now Wow exhibit. Through critical thinking and collaboration, they earn badges and collect digital items for later use. Back at school, the interaction continues. You and your students can build on the experience through further research and classroom activities.

How Does Play the Past Work?

  • Students, chaperones, and teachers receive an orientation, and each student is provided an iPod Touch for use during the visit.
  • Using the Play the Past app, students create a private account with their photo and first name.
  • Play the Past encourages self-directed learning. Students navigate the exhibit using the app, earn badges, and build an inventory of artifacts in their digital backpack.
  • Students pursue up to four main areas of activity, or quests, within Play the Past—an iron mine, a sod house, a fur trading post and a tipi. You can preview these quests to learn about the inventory items, academic standards and more. 
  • Teachers receive an access code to students' digital backpacks for post-visit classroom activities.

What Is a Digital Backpack?

A digital backpack is an online collection that reflects each student's individual field trip experience. The items students earn and collect while on their field trip are immediately available online through their personalized account.

  • All items in your students' digital backpacks are downloadable and re-usable.
  • The items have information and links for further research and deeper exploration.
  • Teachers may develop their own post-visit classroom activities or adapt our Classroom Project Ideas.

On the day of your visit, you will receive both a printed card and an email that will provide access to your group's digital backpacks. Contact us with any questions or needs at playthepast@mnhs.org

How Do I Sign Up?

Register online or call the History Center Scheduling Office at 651-259-3400.

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