Category Archives: video games

iCivics Screencast

Following up from yesterday’s post, here is a Screencast from BrainPOP explaining more about the iCivics site and how teachers can use it in the classroom.  Though the content may not be relevant to our area, the ideas behind the pedagogy and learning strategies can certainly be adapted to suit our needs.


Despite the American specific content, iCivics is a great way for students to experience civil and civic studies through gaming.  Students can experience first hand the difficulty of passing a law through the various levels and stages of government in the United States.  Hopefully a Canadian version or Haudensaunee specific program is in the works!!  Maybe our own students can design it themselves?  More on that in future posts.  Stay tuned.

Playing History

I first heard about the site Playing History at the Brock University Teaching and Technology Showcase.  It is one of many ways students can learn and revisit history as though they were present in that day and age.  Students can experience some of the difficult decisions that history makers had to make based on the information they had at the time.  As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

June is Gaming Month on the Six Nations Numeracy Blog

Having recently “attended” a BrainPOP webinar on Video Games and Learning/Teaching, I learned more in an hour than you could imagine.  Since we are entering the final home stretch of the school year and June is just chalk full of prime teaching, re-teaching, and experimenting with teaching time, I am going to steer a bit away from the math focus (though gaming is DEFINITELY a great way to learn math–see my earlier posts on Lure of the Labyrinth, or click the link on the sidebar) and share a number of websites from the webinar that were recommended by teachers and researchers.  Some of the sites are games for kids to play, while others are more info on gaming and teaching, or even sites where students can create games.


Oh yeah, since this all started with BrainPOP, I figure we should make the GAME UP section of BrainPOP the first link to share.  I learned tonight that we don’t need a subscription to BrainPOP (though we DO have one district wide, I’m led to believe) to access the GAME UP section, so students can access these anytime.  There are also direct links to the BrainPOP movies that the games relate to, which can be viewed in the game window itself.  There are also lesson plans to go along with the games.  Think about using this in June with integrated lesson plans in the fall.

Motion Math

First there was Motion Math.  Then Motion Math: Zoom.  Now the family has grown to include Motion Math: Hungry Fish and Motion Math: Wings.  Each game explores different math concepts in a way that takes great advantage of the iPod/iPad motion sensor and touch controls.  All of them are either free or offer a free lite version.  Full versions aren’t that much more expensive (0.99 to 6.99).  These games are on the better end of the math game scale, as they develop conceptual understanding through the use of visual representations of concepts and go much further beyond the math drill digital worksheet that many apps are.

Lure of the Labyrinth

If I haven’t mentioned this to you yet, either I haven’t actually seen you OR you weren’t listening, because I’ve been telling everyone lately about the MIT created Lure of the Labyrinth game.  This comic book style, immersive experience of learning mathematical concepts at middle grade level is my new favourite thing.  The more I play it, the more I’m amazed.  I see it as fun for all ages, and of course, a million times better than doing worksheets or drill.  Though, that goes without saying.  The truly impressive element of Lure of the Labyrinth is how it creates a puzzling environment that challenges students to test their mathematical thinking and to naturally develop conceptual pieces of middle grade math ideas.

Currently, a contest is running for grades 6 to 8 students, working in groups of 4 to 6.  All they need to do is have a teacher create their teams and register at between April 1st and June 15th.  However, the challenge is just a contest that MIT is hosting to gather data on students and gaming.  Anyone can play the game, regardless of age (and trust me, this is one of those “fun for all ages, 8 to 88, kind of deals”) by going to the main website.

Check out this website Scoop for some more info.

Teachers’ Domain: Lure of the Labyrinth

Teachers’ Domain: Lure of the Labyrinth

Check out the video above if you want to learn more about the Lure of the Labyrinth.  It has a great recap of what the game is about, as well as some firsthand accounts of how teachers have used the game to supplement their lessons and student learning in the classroom.

The Gamification of Education

Gamification of Education
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media