Monday, May 11, 2015

Gamers, Makers, and Learners: A journey along the silk roads

Traveling the Silk Roads: The Game

After reading the regular textbook version, I showed my class three short videos(less than 10 min each), starting with the edTED, and had them take some notes about positives and negatives on a T-chart:

Discussion: We often glorify the positive exchanges along the Silk Road, but can you think of a possible negative impact of global trade on society in either the ancient or modern world? The Silk Road and Ancient Trade: Crash Course World History #9
The positives and negatives from their notes would be used in their game as good moves/cards and bad moves/cards.

After the students were settled into their teams for this project, I gave them a text set that contained 4 sections and instructed them to divide up the reading and have each person do their assigned reading and come up with 10 questions based on what they have discovered, that will be used somehow in their game. I also did a mini-lesson review on how to write a question.

They brought in games from home for inspiration, and to study procedures and instructions.

They practiced playing their own game to make sure that it would work as they had planned in preparation for the game to be played by their classmates. If something wasn't working out properly, then they made adjustments to their game.

I made a rubric and the project will be graded by the groups of people that play the game. I plan to have the students rotate through each game playing every game made by the other teams in both of my classes. I offered bonus points for using recycled materials.

We worked on this project in the last periods of the day after some long mornings of SBAC testing, and I have to say a little game playing was a much needed element in our day.

There were so many different and creative versions of the Silk Roads game. The one pictured here with the cups had a Mancala theme. There was another game that involved the exchanging of beans as goods traded along the journey. There was also a game with a trivial pursuit element to it where the players had to answer questions to collect objects. The objects represented themes of things that were exchanged through the Silk Road (religion, ideas, goods, technology/inventions, etc). 

I have written up a lesson that includes pre-game discussion prompts as well as post-game reflection prompts. It also includes rubrics for the students to use to grade and critique each others games. There are a couple of pages specific to this game on the Silk Roads, but all of the necessary pages for game creation and directions are focused on game design, mechanics, and revision and can be used with any unit of study. The lesson is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for $4.50. I have used this format with my class to create games for the hero's journey/monomyth, Buddhism and the Eight fold Path to Enlightenment, and for a review of a Mythology unit. My next plan is to try out games for "Histories Mysteries"-I'm thinking "What Happened to the Mayans?" with a Clue element. 

In short, I love games. Any time a learning experience can involve gaming, I'm game!

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