Mike Petty
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I'm working with a middle school class called Learning Through Gaming. It ended up being something I'm building as we go, but it's been fun so far.

I see this as a great opportunity to figure out how games can be used best for learning important concepts. We are aiming for several specific skills, but one area I'd like input on is Skills for Success.

I'm going with the premise that the ways we win in games can be applied to "winning at life". I have some ideas already, but in all honesty, I'm not great at winning in games! (And winning at life is debatable sometimes too.) I'd love to hear from those of you who can speak better to one or both.

The survey below asks one question and gives you an opportunity to enter your name and contact information if you want credit. I will greatly appreciate it if you would fill it out.

It's here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeSCUifgi-k1wVp4B3v...

The main question is:
What parallels have you found between "winning at life" and winning in games? Please be as detailed/specific/general as you like.

Thanks in advance if you can help! I'll post results here as we go through the class.
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Michael Z
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I don't know if I would focus on winning for middle school students.

Goal completion - yes*

Optimal strategies - yes*

Enjoyment - yes

Numeracy and Literacy skills - yes


Most games involving more than two players will have more losers than winners. I would not find a focus on winning healthy or positive.


(Middle School Teacher here too)

*I think these two are probably best related to skills for success.
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Mike Petty
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That's a good point. I was thinking of winning more like you would in a game with friends, where you hope you'll stay friends and enjoy more games together. I'll have to think about how to word it.

The way I have presented this so far is that winning at games involves:
-Knowing the goal
-Playing by the rules
-Playing smart
-Playing in a way that lets others enjoy the game

So I did account for the problem you mention. I'm just not happy with the wording. I agree that students could take it wrong, as if I'm calling for ruthless victory in the game at all costs.

By the way, discussion so far in class has revealed that these students don't really understand what it takes to win games. As far as I can tell, the ones who aren't getting it are thinking of video games. To them, you beat a game by trying over and over. Some of my parallels aren't making sense to them.

I started a mancala tournament with the class so we'd all have at least one game in mind to build from. They weren't too thrilled with my suggestion of learning board games. They wanted computer games, so I just downloaded a mancala app on the iPads. I haven't pointed out yet that they're playing a board game.
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