A Journey Through Technology

Week 11: What is the game you are thinking of writing up for your classroom?

on November 18, 2016

My gamification plan is for a high school chemistry class. My theme has been evolving over the last few days, and I think I’m going to call it “Battlestar Chemistry”, after the TV show Battlestar Galactica. The story will have students traveling to the far reaches of the universe to try and reach a new planet for colonization. Every unit of the class will take place on a different planet, starting with Earth. As student solve problems, they will learn the skills and solve the clues they need to find their way to the next step in their journey.

My students will all start out as cadets. As students complete quests and side quests, they will earn experience points (XP) and level up. Their progress with be tracked on a leaderboard that will be shared in our Google Classroom so students can always know how they are doing. The leaderboard will rank individual students within a class period, and also through all the classes. Students will be grouped into battalions in each class period, and XP for these will also be on the leaderboard. Finally, each class, or Battleship, will be ranked on the leaderboard. One thing I am think about with this is to keep student identities hidden so no one is singled out.

Students will also have opportunities to earn badges. Badges will be earned when students complete a unit, when they level up, and for other behaviors and successes in class. Badges will be worth XP amounts that are unknown to the students, which will give me some wiggle room with the leaderboards.

My goal is that eventually students will also be able to earn and even purchase items that they can give them advantages throughout the game. This is still in the beginning stages, so I will probably not start with items when I do start my game.

Each unit of study, or planet, will center around a problem that the Battleships need to solve in order to move on. On some planets, they will need to solve clues, and on others they will need to solve a problem to be able to move on. My goal is to turn each unit into project-based learning to get students engaged and make the classroom more student centered. This will take time, but I hope to do at least one unit per year.

There will be battles throughout our journey, and at this point the main enemy is going to be Cylons, just like Battlestar Galactica. At different points, Cylons will attack the Battleship, and students will need to work together to defeat them. The content of these battles is still a work in progress, but students will be able to earn XP based on their performances, both individual and as a group, against the Cylons.

I’m really excited about working on this and hammering out the fine details, and I can’t wait to see how the students like it!


11 responses to “Week 11: What is the game you are thinking of writing up for your classroom?

  1. unicyclepro says:

    I really like your ideas! Battlestar Galatica was an awesome show. I wonder if students know the story line. In any case, you have thought a lot about the mechanics to make the game. I like your idea of “purchasing” items to get advantages. Gives students a choice of how to progress in the game in a personal way. Sounds like you are gamifying the whole semester, or year. I wonder if high school students will be engaged? That’s one of my fears, and that is why I plan to gamify a unit first, then make some tweaks. Nice goal!


    • Sarah K says:

      I am planning on gamifying the whole year, but I’m going to try one of my units this spring to test it out. I suppose if the students don’t really stay in it, I could drop the gamification bit, but keep the differentiation that I’m hoping to achieve. I figure it won’t hurt to try if it can help my students learn!


  2. katemullin17 says:

    I don’t know if students need to know the storyline you base your gamification model on to be vested in the outcome. Sometimes I think that it might be better if they don’t so they aren’t comparing or anticipating your next move. I certainly hope that Matera’s elementary students didn’t watch Game of Thrones! I like the idea of the hidden leaderboard as well. While some of your students may be competitive, hiding the leaderboard reduces the opportunity for students to tease those who are not at the same level they are, whether it be high or low.


    • Sarah K says:

      I’m mainly using Battlestar Galactica to help me decide on setting and characters, so our plot won’t follow the show completely. It’s really just a starting point, so even if students have watched, they won’t have any advantage over those that haven’t. I’m hoping they aren’t able to anticipate any of the moves in this!


  3. Mariah Smith says:

    Loving your story line and how easy flowing it can be. My favorite part is the one enemy that you have so that all groups can come together and be a team in fighting against the enemy. I am not sure if you have read the books or seen the movie but another thing to look at for ideas is Ender’s Game. Teams have regular battles with the goal of being prepared for the big battle against the enemy. This might help students with be resilient with losing because the game stakes aren’t as large in these small battles because the main purpose is to help the large battle.


    • Sarah K says:

      I love the idea of incorporating Enders Game. It would tie in so nicely to my theme. I like the idea of low stakes practice so students don’t feel stressed. Thanks for sharing that!


  4. hcorriere says:

    Fantastic, Sarah! I bet you’ll get a lot of buy in! It would be interesting to take some sort of a poll before you begin your gamified unit to measure engagement, and then again after playing the game. I’ve been looking for some sort of quantifiable evidence for a gamified classroom for students especially at the high school level. Your students are lucky to have you!


    • Sarah K says:

      Thank you 🙂 I like the idea of a poll before trying this out. I’m going to try gamifying one of my units this spring to test this out, so I will definitely survey them before and after. I love collecting evidence to see how things are helping (or not) my students. It will also be good to have data to show my administrators and other staff at my school to get others on the gamification train.


    • akedtech says:

      The research to look at is probably that of engagement. We can extrapolate that if students are engaged, then the game will be effective. Also – check out this research that could be helpful: https://janemcgonigal.com/learn-me/


  5. Mariah Smith says:

    My original comment didn’t get posted. Here I go again. Hopefully I can remember what I said.

    Great idea on the story line. I really feel like this is an easy game for students to follow because they have short term goals of reaching the next planet. Having a common enemy was a genius idea and I think students will enjoy that part of the game. If you are needing some extra ideas or want to watch a movie or read a book to help with your story line there is Ender’s Game. In this story, groups have regular training battles against each other in preparation for fighting the enemy. This might be a good place to let students fail because it has little stakes. Nice work!!


  6. agryga says:

    Great ideas! I like your storyline and the battle against the cyclones. I also like your idea of using the planets as units of study. What types of badges are you thinking of giving or is that still a work in progress?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: