Reflection: Relevance Exploring the Carbon Cycle - Section 2: Explore


The use of a "game approach" to learning isn't new, but the tools and resources available now are expanding rapidly thanks to computers, web access, and lots of talented people creating games. But the old-fashioned way is still a good one as well. There are many games (board, TV) that can be retrofitted to serve an educational purpose, such as Jeopardy!, Monopoly, and Scrabble. These now have enriching additions that can be found online.

What makes a game educational? They have to target core content that is being taught. This content has to be manipulated, discussed, connected, etc. rather than merely presenting knowledge. When creating the game, organize it around keywords/phrases to anchor it to critical content. 

Play it yourself, with someone who can give you feedback. This prepares you for potential pitfalls, problems, and potential disconnect from the rigor you want in the activity. 

Discuss the game experience. Treat the game like any other learning experience - create opportunities for students to process what they're learning. This means the debrief must go beyond, "Was it fun?", or "What did you learn?" The debrief preferably should be student-led, and question stems can be given to students to up the rigor. 

Why do you think ...?

What is the relationship between ... and ...?

What conclusions can you draw from ...?

Can you identify ...?

If you changed ..., what would happen?

How did you know ...?

What data was used to ...?

How would you adapt ..., to create a different ...?

Besides ready-made online games, there are also game platforms such as Kahoot!, Teach with Portals, PurposeGames, and so on. Just Google!

  Using Games to Teach
  Relevance: Using Games to Teach
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Exploring the Carbon Cycle

Unit 8: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Lesson 5 of 10

Objective: SWBAT to develop a model to describe the carbon cycle among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.

Big Idea: Students explore the cycling of carbon and it's impact on ecosystems.

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36 teachers like this lesson
Science, ecosystem, carbon cycle, ELL, gamification, interaction, Energy, dynamic
  60 minutes
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