Tag Archive for Game

Fantasy Geopolitics: A unique way to learn about the world

 

Fantasy Geopolitics Review

 

I am always looking for ways to make learning real and relevant and fun – so I was thrilled when I learned about Fantasy Geopolitics.

Mashable described the game as “Fantasy Football” meets “Model United Nations”.

Students get the chance to decide which countries they want on their “team” – and this requires them to learn about what’s happening in the world if they want to be successful.

How does Fantasy Geopolitics work?

 

Teachers set up leagues for their classrooms and decide how many countries will be on each student’s team. On draft day students take it in turns to make their selection.

Then for the duration of the game (the teacher decides how long that will be) students are awarded points depending on how often their countries are mentioned in the news, and whether they are mentioned in a favorable light or not.

Students can trade with other students during that time, or drop countries and select ones that haven’t been drafted already.

Fantasy Geopolitics Leaderboard

Steps to take before the Fantasy Geopolitics draft

1. Give the students a few weeks to follow world news

2. Make sure all students have an email address they can use. This allows them to access the game outside of the classroom.

3. Get the students to write down a list of countries they would like to draft. Remind them the popular ones will be chosen quickly, so they need plenty of options. If they don’t have an extensive list to work through you will find yourself waiting while students try to decide on countries to select.

What students think about Fantasy Geopolitics

My students loved playing and the first thing they would ask to do when arriving in class was to check the leaderboard. Here’s what two of them told me after we had concluded the game:

Tyler said:

I thought it was great. It gave me a reason to look up and see what was happening around the world. I learned lots about the Middle East and I came in second place!
Chance said:
My experience in Fantasy Geopolitics was great. I spent time reading the news and learned many new things. It was so much fun.
Who should use Fantasy Geopolitics?

This is a great game to play with middle or high schoolers (or even college students!) who are taking classes in Geography or Economics or anything related to current affairs and world politics.

The game works on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones – which means it is accessible to almost everyone.

It does cost – but if you have a few classes it turns out to be $1 per student or even less. And that’s for a full year. They do have various plan options. You can sign up and get a free account that allows you to play with 5 people so that is a good way to try it out and see if it is right for your students.

So – go and check it out at fantasygeopolitics.com and let me know in the comments if you are playing it with your classes.

 

Shell Game by ThinkFun: Review


Shell Game from ThinkFun

Shell Game by ThinkFun is an excellent memory training solitaire game that is perfect for students who finish their work early, or just to play at home.

It works similarly to the “Shell Game” used by con men but this time it becomes a series of puzzles to solve using brain power. There are a total of 60 puzzles which start simply but become increasingly challenging. If you can’t work out how to solve any of them there is a solutions booklet provided.

The puzzles are all on separate pages in the puzzle book. Find the items listed as the ‘start’ items – here you need the Red A, Blue B and a grey stone.

Shell Game Start

Take those items and put them on the center circles opposite their start positions.

Shell Game 2

 

Next you have to cover everything up with shells.

Shell Game 4

Now comes the thinking part! Switch the a shell with another shell joined by an arc. Keep switching until you think you have moved the stones to the correct “end” location.

Shell Game 5

 

Think you have it correct? Lift the shells to check.

Shell Game 6

 

Still not clear? Here’s a video that demonstrates it.

 

 

I would highly recommend this game for upper elementary and older, though younger kids will be able to master the easier ones too. Now that I have played and reviewed it, I will be donating the review copy I was given to the after school center I help out in as this will be perfect for the students to play when they have completed their homework.

You can purchase Shell Game on Amazon.

Please note: the links in this post are Affiliate Links – that means I make a small amount but you don’t pay anything extra.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Pocket Law Firm: a fun Civics app that teaches the amendments

Pocket Law Firm app

Do you know your constitutional rights? Do you know what each amendment relates to? And do your students and children know?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, then I can recommend the iPad app from iCivics (you can also play it online here as ‘Do I have a Right?’) which makes learning these things a lot of fun.

You start by choosing who you want to be and then you select a partner.

Clients start to arrive at your law firm. It is your duty to meet them and hear their problems. If you think their constitutional rights are being ignored – introduce them to a lawyer who can help them. Initially, only your partner is available but as the game continues and your firm earns prestige points for winning cases, you can hire more. Each lawyer comes with one amendment they are experts in – and then as the game progresses they sometimes acquire more.

Pocket Law Firm Screen

It is your job to make a correct match to a lawyer who can help – or to refuse a case where the client does not have a real right.

Pocket Law Firm Screen

The game is played over 7 days and things get busier each day. Prestige points can be used not only to hire lawyers but also to upgrade the waiting area so that customers are prepared to wait longer, and to purchase adverts in the local newspaper.

The office gets really busy and it is hard to remember which amendment is which (you can get in-game help but that wastes time so you WANT to remember). And you have to think strategically how to spend your money at the end of each day.

Pocket Law Firm screen shot

I like this game – a lot! I have played it 3 times and each time I have done a bit better. I keep playing because it is fun – but I have also learned that the 2nd amendment = right to bear arms ,3rd = soldiers can’t be quartered in your house, 4th= no unreasonable searches, 5th= double jeopardy and government can’t take property without compensating you, 8th = no Cruel or Unusual Punishment, 13th = no slavery and 14th – equality under the law. All of these I could not have told you 3 days ago before I downloaded the app. By the way – I wrote those down from memory and didn’t cheat at all. I was actually surprised by how well I had remembered.

And did I mention the app is FREE? It is.

So if you have an iPad – go grab it now from the iTunes store. If not, you can still enjoy the game online. There are a number of other games from iCivics on their website. And there are lessons plans for teachers. These lesson plans are really detailed and even provide creative worksheets (not the usual boring ones I was expecting).

Any one used this app or the online games? If so, how have your children / students responded to it?

Risk meets Economics Quiz online game

murktide_welcome_screen

 

It’s not often I find myself playing a game intended for students all the way to the end – but that is what I did when I discovered Murktide Invasion, a new mini-game developed by the Council for Economic Education.

The point of the game is to push back the ‘Murktide’,agents spreading false financial information, and preventing them dominating America. You win when you completely annihilate their forces. The game can be played on the Gen i Revolution website or on Facebook.

murktide_quiz_questions

The game has 2 elements. Each round you are presented with 5 multiple choice questions related to personal finance and economics. You score a point for every correct answer. You are not told what the correct answer is if you get one wrong. At first, I thought this was odd, but when I found myself drawn to re-playing the game after my first win, I realized it was actually a smart strategy. The only way to find out the answer is to play again. I know many students won’t care enough to bother, but for those who do, they are more likely to remember the concept. The questions are presented randomly so you may not get the ones you missed the first time round, but if you play a few times you are likely to get the chance to retry those.

The game includes financial calculations like how much interest will be earned in a specific scenario. A calculator is provided to the right of the game play to make it easy for players to figure the answer out.

murktide_attack_screen

After the round of questions you get to do the ‘fighting’ against the Murktide. You have 3 chances to do something each round: you can reposition your contacts, you can place the new contacts on the board, or you can attack. This feels very similar to the board game ‘Risk’. If you have more contacts than they do, you will advance into their region. If you have a decent economic knowledge, you should be able to clear the Murktide off the map after a couple of turns.

This game is a great way for middle and high school students to test their understanding of investments in particular. It can be played in under half an hour, is free and has a fun element to it.

There is also a second mini game called ‘Beyond the Mission’ that covers similar material. You play that as a series of missions where you have to give advice to someone making a decision. It is also a good way to reinforce financial literacy, but it is not quite as much fun as Murktide Invasion. I played 2 missions and then quit.

For schools where every student has access to a computer or tablet, or for homeschoolers, this game is a great way to turn testing into a fun experience. Perhaps teachers could offer small prizes to students who beat the Murktide in the fewest turns to add an extra degree of competitiveness.

Let me know what you think about this game in the comments

Fuzzy Logic: A great app to teach thinking skills

Fuzzy Logic is a great puzzle app that will teach children critical thinking skills. It will challenge adults too!

This is an easy game to understand – clear the screen of all the “fuzzies” to move on to the next level. And to do that you just need to get two fuzzies of the same color to bump into each other. Some fuzzies change color when they bump into fuzzies of a different color eg red and white merge to become a new pink fuzzy.

If this all sounds easy – well, the first few levels are. Then you have to really think and plan and strategize. My 12 year old is much better at this than I am, but with perseverance (and sometimes her help) I can eventually clear each level.

Highly recommended.

Available for iPad, iPod, iPhone and Android. A free version is also available.

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