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 Wowexhibit. They enter historical situations and, through critical thinking and collaboration, earn badges and collect digital items for later use. Back at school, the interaction continues, as you and your students can build upon 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.
  • Already installed on these devices is the Play the Past app in which students create a private account with their own 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 three main areas of activity, or quests, within Play the Past—an iron mine, a sod house, and a fur trading post. 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 of the items in your students' digital backpacks are downloadable and re-usable.
  • These items will have information and links for further research and deeper exploration.
  • Teachers may develop their own post-visit classroom activities or draw upon our suggestions. See 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