After having just spent the last two hours 'playing games' with grade six I feel the need to write a blog post and explain my actions :)
The current unit, Sharing the Planet, in this case should be called, 'Spreading the Planet with Disease!'
Let me dissect this for you readers:
|Box 1 of the PYP Planner|
With the above explanation in mind, how do I justify 'playing games' for two hours? It is no secret that if we give a student an iPad with little or no guidance, they will just ' play around.' They might learn something from it, but do they really know what they have learned and how to record, articulate to others, and share in their ePortfolio?
It is fascinating to watch students frantically press the iPad screen in the hope that something will happen and with the expectation they can win! It is even more rewarding when I interact with students, observe, listen and facilitate with their inquiry.
The objective of the simulation app, Plague Inc., might be to spread the disease and avoid a cure being found before it has taken over. However, the REAL learning intention in our classroom is to spread the disease and prevent a cure being found with a critical mind, by developing a strategy, applying previous knowledge, collaborating and learning from others.
Now, let us discuss the "frantic" approach in which grade six tackled this app, and bear in mind that they were asked to record their observations and findings using the below matrix. Students were expected to document the changes/actions that help spread the disease and record the changes/actions that hinder the disease to spread and examples from the real world.
|Question: How many students were actually recording during this "frantic" period? You guessed it: very little! Remember, they were playing!|
At this point, the students noticeably started to slow down. The noise levels dropped. Students became engaged and serious about the task in hand. It was not about winning that comes with gaming, it became about using prior knowledge to further the spread of their disease, about collaborating with their peers to hear and see what they are doing well and how they might replicate this in their simulation.
A particular stand out moment for me was from Isabella, when she perceptively informed those around her that if they were starting in a cold country, then would need to make sure that the cold wouldn't hinder the spread of the disease.
Where would start the spread of a deadly disease and Why?
Students watch their screens, react to the news and come up with strategies to further spread the disease.
Related Blog Posts: Not all screentime is screen time
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