Game On!

This fall, more than ever before, I have found myself creating activities that promote joy and play in my classes.  I've been curious and excited about incorporating gamification and game play into my middle school computer science classroom and this year seemed the right time to take the leap and try some new types of activities.  Here are two games that have been a hit with my students so far!

The first is a game inspired by the Egg Dash Challenge, created by John Meehan, author of EDrenaline Rush, as way to spice up a quiz review session. It was important for me to take my students offline, and I wanted an alternative to Kahoot or other online tools.  Students worked in small teams of 3 or 4 and their goal was to answer as many questions and earn as many points in 5 minutes. I printed questions on individual pieces of paper and placed them in a paper bag, one bag designated for each team. They had to race to the bag, grab a question and run back to their team to answer it. We played on a field outside and my students definitely appreciated the fresh air. They absolutely loved it and I enjoyed listening to their conversations as they worked through the problems together.  It took some time to prepare but it was most definitely worth it. Could this be adapted as a virtual activity?

Another type of game that has been a hit for my students this year has been digital breakout activites.  I used the games available on the platform Breakout Edu in the past, but this year I have been motivated to use the platform to create my own digital puzzles based on content we have been learning. Small teams of students, each working individually on their Chromebooks, have to work together to solve the challenges and race to be the first team to  "break out".   They keep asking me for more! I have also successfully done this in a virtual setting with teams working on the challenges in breakout rooms.

Let's inspire each other with stories of joy and play from our classrooms!  I would love to hear examples of how you include games and game based elements in your teaching.