TeachersFirst's Game-Based Learning Resources

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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst provides the editors’ choices of the TOP tools for game-based learning. Game-based learning is popular in today’s classrooms. Explore tools in various subject and topic areas. Differentiate for all students using games! Find games to help your students learn and review. 

 

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Quandary - Learning Games Network

Grades
3 to 9
1 Favorites 0  Comments
    
Quandary is an online simulation in ethical decision-making while building a new colony on the planet Braxos. Face decisions without right or wrong answers but that have implications...more
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Quandary is an online simulation in ethical decision-making while building a new colony on the planet Braxos. Face decisions without right or wrong answers but that have implications on you and others in the colony. This activity was created for students ages 8-14. Login is optional to save scores or play as a guest. The game includes three different episodes with each containing different scenarios for decision-making. View information on the game, extension questions and more within the teachers and parents portions of the site. Find lesson plans, standards mapping (matched to Common Core ELA standards), and printable materials within the teachers section for classroom use. Don't miss the introduction videos explaining the site!

tag(s): creativity (120), critical thinking (112), ethics (18), game based learning (116)

In the Classroom

Try this activity on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Create a quick poll (with no membership required) using Updwn, reviewed here, to view students' choices of actions to take throughout the game. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos and share them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here to explain the decision-making process for different scenarios.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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People's Pie - iCivics.org

Grades
5 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
People's Pie is a simulation where YOU control all of the money of the United States. Start by setting taxes to fund government programs. Set the age for citizens to ...more
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People's Pie is a simulation where YOU control all of the money of the United States. Start by setting taxes to fund government programs. Set the age for citizens to receive entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. Be careful; set taxes too high or entitlement age too high, and the citizens will be unhappy! Next, make funding decisions for services such as military, finances, and more while viewing citizen satisfaction along the way. Use available options for borrowing money, but beware of high interest rates! The goal is to make it through three budget years; however, the game ends early if citizen dissatisfaction is high. Be sure to check out the quick overview and instruction guide located here. Although login and registration are available on the site, they aren't necessary to play the game. Choose "no thanks" at the prompt to begin play.

tag(s): branches of government (50), financial literacy (81), game based learning (116)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate the basic concepts of the challenge on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then allow students to play on their own on the whiteboard or classroom computers, keeping a log of their actions and results. Have students create "talking pictures" to debate funding (or lack of) for a particular budget item using Fotobabble reviewed here. Use this game as a springboard for an economics or government class to debate and discuss the impact of financial decisions on different segments of the community. Have students research current candidates' financial plans and play the game using the politician's strategies. Have students compare and contrast the impact on the economy.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Skoolbo - Shane Hill

Grades
K to 5
15 Favorites 1  Comments
Skoolbo is a multi-platform math and literacy program designed to help 4 to 10 year-olds learn to read and gain confidence with numbers. The multiplayer games incorporate beautifully...more
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Skoolbo is a multi-platform math and literacy program designed to help 4 to 10 year-olds learn to read and gain confidence with numbers. The multiplayer games incorporate beautifully designed 3D worlds, individualized avatars and a highly effective rewards system. As children answer more questions, they can earn badges, superhero costumes and certificates, questions adjust to challenge students based on responses. Teachers and parents receive comprehensive, individually customized reports detailing not only strengths and weaknesses, but also suggested activities for student improvement. Enter class information including student names and parent emails to view results, summaries, and more. Add multiple classes as needed. Registration requires email information to access and use all areas of Skoolbo and download software to play games. There are some premium features available, but they are not required to enjoy most of the benefits of this site. Only the videos require Flash. Another feature is a free Zalairos Adventures ebook every two weeks, downloadable through iTunes.

tag(s): addition (239), DAT device agnostic tool (174), division (168), ebooks (43), fluency (24), game based learning (116), grammar (214), literacy (107), multiplication (222), numbers (203), patterns (88), phonics (71), preK (292), puzzles (207), spelling (169), subtraction (198), time (142), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

Enroll your class in Skoolbo then create a link to the site on classroom computers. Monitor students' progress and provide parents with up to date information. Share this site with parents through your classroom website or newsletter as a resource for practicing math and literacy skills at home. Assign practice on the site for weekly homework. One great benefit of the site is the report containing suggested activities for student improvement, share this information with parents as an aid to improving student performance. If you have access to iPads in your classroom, download the app from the site for students to access on the mobile device. Find the teacher's guide by clicking on Core Skills and scrolling to the bottom of that page. This is in PDF format, and you can begin using the Skoolbo site and see an overview of skills covered.

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Game Up: Brain Pop Games - Game Up Brainpop games

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
    
This new "freebie" from Brainpop goes beyond the usual videos and quizzes. It includes several engaging interactives, some created by Brainpop and others linked to outside sources....more
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This new "freebie" from Brainpop goes beyond the usual videos and quizzes. It includes several engaging interactives, some created by Brainpop and others linked to outside sources. Game Up, a free area of Brain Pop, is a collection of free online games that are linked to Common Core and State Standards. Science, math, social studies, and health activities provide challenge for every learner. This free gem also includes activities for grades K-3 and ESL/ELL students. Some of the topics (at the time of this review) included: Drake Equation, Court Quest, Cell Command, Blood Typing, Make Me Sick, The Diabetic Dog Game, and Food Fight.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): branches of government (50), cells (105), debate (44), diseases (70), fractions (234), game based learning (116), logic (243), matter (59), myplate (27), nutrition (159), oceans (154), planets (128), plants (156), puzzles (207), solar system (121), supreme court (24)

In the Classroom

Use Game Up to introduce, illustrate, review, or assess concepts. Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector for students to operate as a class activity. Use one of the activities as a learning center. Be sure to put this as a link on your website to allow students a great way to reinforce learning both in and out of your class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Socrative - Socrative.com

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Socrative is a smart student response system -- the answer to not having expensive "educational clickers" in your classroom. Socrative is in beta at this time and is free. Their ...more
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Socrative is a smart student response system -- the answer to not having expensive "educational clickers" in your classroom. Socrative is in beta at this time and is free. Their apps work on tablets, smartphones, iPod Touch, laptops, and others. There is an introductory video demonstrating teacher and student logins and how your class will interact in real-time. You can create your own multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions. You may also choose to use one of their ready-made activities as exit tickets, thoughtful questions, or games. See your students' responses in an Excel file or view online as a Google spreadsheet. Multiple choice questions are automatically corrected.

tag(s): chat (54), DAT device agnostic tool (174), game based learning (116), gamification (77), polls and surveys (55), questioning (34), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

If you've ever wanted greater student engagement, increased student interest, and heightened discussion and interactivity in your classroom, Socrative is the answer. Students can give their input and express their views anonymously, if you wish.

In any curriculum area, ask open-ended questions and display student responses with your projector or interactive whiteboard. Students could then use a tool like Votesy, reviewed here to vote on the options.

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ABCya - ABCYA.com, l.l.c,

Grades
K to 5
11 Favorites 0  Comments
  
ABCya.com, developed by a web developer turned computer teacher, aims to provide educational games and activities for elementary students. Nearly every subject is included. Simply click...more
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ABCya.com, developed by a web developer turned computer teacher, aims to provide educational games and activities for elementary students. Nearly every subject is included. Simply click on your grade level (K-5) and find what is available under language arts, math, and other subjects. Specific topics range from basic typing activities to creating word clouds to grammar games (at all levels) and so much more. The interactives are teacher approved and offer colorful and attention grabbing ways for learning. Opportunities for sharing on Facebook, tweeting, and sharing on social bookmarking sites are incorporated. This is a MUST SEE site for elementary teachers looking for some great practice sites for basic skills!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (89), decimals (131), drawing (82), fractions (234), game based learning (116), geometric shapes (170), keyboarding (37), latitude (14), literacy (107), longitude (14), number sense (98), numbers (203), operations (126), preK (292)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, demonstration how to use the specific tool/activity. Create a learning center AT the whiteboard or on individual laptops and allow students to try it out on their own. List this as a student and parent resource on your classroom website. Use this site to informally assess skills to tell you which students to allow to do alternative work or go ahead. Allow your gifted students to explore new concepts while providing necessary reinforcement for those learners that need a technology-inspired method to help master learning goals. This is an excellent tool for differentiating. Provide as an anticipatory guide for new units.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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