EDET 679 – Week 11

Essential Question: What is the game you are thinking of writing up for your classroom?

Why reinvent the wheel? That’s what I kept telling myself as I struggled to come up with an original game concept to use in my classroom. Reflecting back on Matera’s obvious use of the Game of Thrones theme helped push me in the direction of taking a game that has already been designed and adapting it to the needs of my classroom.

In choosing a game, I spent a fair amount of time considered what I wanted to get out of it. I already knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want it to be a tool to monitor behavior. For me, engagement is the best method for modifying unwanted behavior. Engagement would need to be at the top of the list. I also wanted a game which would encourage collaboration. As our students of today move into the workforce of tomorrow, most of them will be expected to collaborate with their colleagues. Teaching them this skill is critical for their future success. Finally, I wanted a game that was easily adaptable to meet the varying academic and emotional needs of the students in my classroom.

The game I have chosen to blatantly copy (and then adapt to work in a classroom setting) is Pandemic. The manufacturer describes it in the following way: “Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. Players must work together playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. For example the Operation Specialist can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases. The Scientist needs only 4 cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal 5. But the diseases are out breaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures. A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose (n.d.).”

I really like the idea of using this game in the classroom because it is set up to be players against the game, not each other. This is the type of collaboration I am hoping to instill in my students. I will most likely use it in math, where I have one dedicated 35 minute block of time each day where all of my students are in the room. Students would be placed into teams based on their current understanding of the standards we are working on, then assigned roles within those groups with each player having specific strengths. For the purposes of my classroom, I would use a map of the United States (one of the fifth grade standards is understanding U.S. geography) as the original playing field. As students complete a certain number of assigned math problems, their team earns a chance at play (this still needs to be worked out), and the team must decide what they will do with that play. I am envisioning each group having their own map, although one map could be used an teams could take turns at play in the order they finished.

Resources:

Pandemic. (n.d.) At Amazon. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Z-Man-Games-ZMG-71100-Pandemic/dp/B00A2HD40E/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

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6 thoughts on “EDET 679 – Week 11”

  1. Nice job blatantly copying an existing game. 🙂 I think some games have very good game mechanics, so it’s okay to use those mechanics in the class. I have not played Pandemic, but I can relate to Mario Kart and see how Matera describes some of the game mechanics, and how it is used in Mario Kart. It is always a challenge to shift that to a class. I like your idea. You are right in saying collaboration is very important in ANY job you have so it’s good to work on developing those skills in the class.

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  2. Kate- I agree engagement is the best for getting rid of unwanted behavior. That is so true! Why reinvent the wheel when you can use another game and adjust it. This sounds like a great game Pandemic. Have you played this before? I like that they are playing against the game and not each other. This sounds like a great lesson!

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    1. I have not played the game before, but it gets amazing reviews from a wide range of players. Because I was looking for the collaboration piece, and to try to make it cross-curricular (geography during math time!), this game seemed like such a nice fit. I think I’ll order it for my own kids for Christmas. We love to play board games and can get a bit competitive, so a collaborative family game might be a refreshing change of pace!

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  3. Great ideas! I like how you are trying to create a game that is players playing against the game not against each other. I agree with not reinventing the wheel. There are so many great ideas out there for gamification and so much of our job as educators is borrowing from each other. I also agree with keeping the goal on engagement. I want gamification to encourage my students to do well in class.

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    1. Thanks, Ali. The fifth graders in my room can be so competitive about some things. I want them to realize that they are all in the same boat, and they all need to work together to make that boat float!

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  4. I agree in using a concept, story, or game that is already made up and tends to be an effective game that gets people engaged. I love how you started out thinking about what you found most important. I think I need to go back to my story line and look whether or not what I find most important is being answered in my story line. As a math teacher, I am excited that you would want to put gamification on math because it might give an extra tug on the student’s will to love math. Thats all my goal is in life. Thank you!

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