There is a website I have been toying around with recently called Secret Builders. In Secret Builders students explore a virtual world full of historical figures. Students can meet these figures as well as explore their houses to gain a better understanding about each figure.
Teachers can set up student accounts for free – and watch as students complete achievements in the virtual world. Teachers can also create quests with rewards for students – serving as an impetus for students to learn about specific historical figures they may be talking about in class.
I am going to have to work with it some more to fully understand its classroom uses – but it already appears to have an educational value.
Are you looking for fun ways to promote science in and out of the classroom? I have already discussed a number of science related resources through free.ed.gov, but here is one that I could see students playing all day long. It’s called “Game for Science.”
Game for Science is a virtual world where students can create their own avatars. As the students begin to explore the world they bump into a variety of challenges and quests. Each quest requires them to achieve some act of science or answer questions related to science. For instance, if students visit the lab in main square, they will find a scientist who is trying to solve the lack of toothpaste issue in the world. Therefore, the scientist encourages you to play with chemical mixtures to create toothpaste.
As students play the game they will collect neurons and talent points – which will allow for them to get more things and do more things with their avatar.
In this virtual world, everything is science related – and, something I love about it, is that it doesn’t just focus on one type of science – students are going to be exposed to all facets of science. The game provides questions, fact sheets, experiments, quests, and videos to watch about science.
It’s also free. Give it a shot. Even if you aren’t using it specifically in the classroom, you could encourage students to use it at home – possibly give students extra credit if they get to a certain point in the game.
One of my favorite assessments we did this last year in 5th grade was create board games. We were teaching different systems of the body and how the systems work together. The students had to come up with a board game that showed the relationship between two systems. Many of the games were incredible. Students really used their creativity and came up with clever goals.
So this got me thinking… is there a website that makes it easy to create board games?
Sure enough -there seems to be: Game Crafter.
Why is Game Crafter great?
- Provides templates for board games and cards (use them! because you want to make sure your pictures are printed correctly)
- Provides an array of game pieces for you to choose to add to your game (money, dice, tokens, little people, pieces…)
- Great prices.
- Excellent information provided to guide you through the steps.
If you use this website make sure to use their templates. If you need a website to edit pictures for the board game and cards use the website: Gimp.
Gimp is a free, open-sourced photo-editing program. You will have to download it, but it is completely worth it. If you want to know more about Gimp look up an earlier post on Gimp.