Game Based Learning – Engineering Day for Kids

If you have been following me on my blog or twitter, you already know my excitement about Game Based Learning or Gamification. This idea of using game principles in class to direct and motivate students shows real potential. One gamified lesson went extremely well and I thought I would share it.

The idea for the lesson was simple.  In fact, the idea came from playing with my two-year old daughter Mila. I was playing with those alphabet blocks we have all seen. I was creating different configurations and then I thought about my Egypt lesson. During the lesson, students learned about the corbel vault. I began to make one with the blocks. Students found it to be a challenge and fun to figure out how much weight the structure could take.
It didn’t take long for me to jump to what I could do with blocks within my history class. I looked around for a good block set. I found Kapla blocks Kapla blocks on Amazon. These were the best for my needs. I ordered four sets so that each group would have their own materials.

The Lesson:
The night before, students read up and watch a flipped lesson on Greek temple design and engineering. When they came into class the following day, each group was given 20 gold to work with. On the board there was a price chart for all the special building material. I told students these colored blocks represented different levels of art that might be in their building. It will be costly and they had to think where they would incorporate the purchased art work.

Price Chart:
Blue and Yellow Blocks = 1 gold
Green Blocks = 3 gold
Red blocks = 5 gold

Here is a three-minute video I created showing the lesson in action. All in one day, students were engaged, learning how to manage resources, designing temples, and working well as a team. Enjoy the video…

 

It was a great day with the students, filled with creative play and critical thinking that allowed them to be inspired and learn from each other. Each team had a chance to earn a badge depending how good their building turned out. The next day I had students who came in with research on other Greek structures they would like to attempt to build next time.  I am constantly amazed at how much Gamification is inspiring my students to do their best and to dig deeper.
Think about how you could infuse Game Based Learning/Gamification into your course!

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  1. Social Studies + STEM = Aqueducts Rebuilt! | mrmatera.com - [...] that end, I have tried this year to integrate STEM into my world history class. My earlier post, engineering day in…

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