For more information, or to see WHY I decided to try gamification, along with some resources, check out Part 1 of this series.
Today's post will cover the actual process I went through in making the games. I created a digital breakout for the 8th graders and a traditional board game for the 7th graders.
The 8th graders instruction was focused on evaluating sources since they were going to be finding research on their own. We went over databases and keywords and the digital breakout had topics focusing on comparing two sources (database result and web result), determining if something is fake news, setting parameters on advanced searches, and finding information on an author of a website. These skills were all things that I had noticed the students struggling with on past research projects.
When I first started with this project, I wanted to do an escape room of sorts with QR codes and stations around the room. I initially planned on having kids use the iPads to scan the codes and fill in the Google Form, but after looking into it and realizing the split screen option wouldn't work as well as I wanted it to, I switched and decided on a digital breakout utilizing Google Sites. To begin, I created a folder for each of the different stations/projects. These stations became different pages/tabs on the actual site itself. In each folder I put the Google Form for that page, the links I used, copies of PDFs, and any other info (pictures, sites, etc). Each page had a Google Form that asked questions relating to the material on that topic, and the submission screen on each Form gave a color code. This color code was used on the home page of the Site to unlock the final problem and "win" the game.
HERE is the Google Site I created for this project (the overall storyline/theme was alien invasion).
The 7th graders were using information we gave them (a collection of web sources, print materials, and encyclopedias found in the library) so they didn't need as much instruction on source evaluation. Rather, their lessons focused on using the materials provided and creating citations. For them, I created a board game. Before creation, I knew that I wanted them to have to answer a variety of question types, and solve a few "challenges." I used a template I found online (pictured below) and blew it up on the school's printer to fit an 11X17 piece of paper.
After I printed one, I outlined the squares to make it darker and filled in the different spots. I had already decided on four different types of questions: Find a Fact, Pick a Card, Time Warp, and Reference. Each type of question had a deck of cards I made that had questions specific to it. Time Warp questions used printed materials, Reference used the encyclopedias, Find a Fact and Pick a Card both used the web resources we had curated for them. I created the game cards using Google Draw (see example below).
Finally, the tech guy and I used the 3D printer to create dice and game pieces (in two colors) for each board game set. In the end we made enough for 6 games to be going at once, which equals out to about 4-5 people per game (2 teams).
Below is a pic of a completed game set:
For both games (the digital and the traditional) the hardest thing was coming up with what all I wanted them to get out of the game FIRST and then working backwards. This was not a project that you could complete the morning of, or do with just a random thought. There was a lot of planning involved, and I was glad to be able to create this for teachers. Working in the library gives me more flexibility in planning, so I am able to create projects like this more easily than a classroom teacher can on their own.
Part 3 of this series will deal with my thoughts AFTER the games were done and how the students responded. Stay tuned!