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Subject: Recommendations for class and club? rss

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Michael Noakes
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Hello,

I'm a teacher of English at a school in East London and have recently founded a Gaming Club--am still working out how to spin the 'educational' aspect of it all, but I've got a small group of teens eager to join and hopefully over time it'll grow and expand. We're starting with a bit of RPG, but I hope to diversify into boardgames as well.

What games can you recommend that it'd be easy to spin as 'educational'?

I'm giving my first try at 'educational gaming' tomorrow actually, bring Agricola into a small (3 student!) SEN classroom to try and generate some inspiration for their English class. Hopefully it doesn't confuse the heck out of them!

-M.
 
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Brad Johnson
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I think the best angles for educational content in games are clearly in the areas of geography and history. As one example, I've always wanted to bring History of the World into a World History classroom. (I think a number of Ragnar Brothers games might be of similar value...) Or perhaps try something like Origins of World War II? Not the best game ever, but I believe it might have actually been designed in part as a classroom exercise, if I recall correctly.

I'm also a big fan of many of the card-driven wargames (e.g. Sword of Rome, Wilderness War, Here I Stand, or Twilight Struggle) as a means of getting some insight into a particular historical period, because the event cards typically capture so many of the interesting anecdotes of the period. However, most of these games would probably be a little too complex for most non-gamer teens to pick up and play....
 
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whistler
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Most abstracts would work with little argument. Educators tend to see abstracts as highly educational compared to their themed counterparts.

You might also try Chrononauts.
 
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John W
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Weloi Avala wrote:
I'm giving my first try at 'educational gaming' tomorrow actually, bring Agricola into a small (3 student!) SEN classroom to try and generate some inspiration for their English class. Hopefully it doesn't confuse the heck out of them!

I don't think it would be a good idea to bring Agricola as a first-play game to people who haven't played serious boardgames before.

Why not start with Ticket to Ride:Europe?
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Try 10 Days in Europe, on the basis that it's a geography lesson.
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Will Green
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Hi Michael,

I am not sure if you want to move in the direction of Historical Wargames...yet if you do I have a packet of information that I can send on to you. It covers games, a progression of games that works well with 12-14 year-olds.

I have been running a game club, The Historical Games Club, that plays only wargames...(however, we never refer to them as "wargames" History seems to have a certain allure that swallows the concept of "war" right out of the picture.

This is the fourth year of this club at my school, and I have an all high first trimester run of students who have committed to the club.

There is a lot that I can share, if you are interested/ able to head into the field of "war" games...

Cheers,

Will
 
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whistler
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sbszine wrote:
Try 10 Days in Europe, on the basis that it's a geography lesson.


Oh yes, I second this and recommend all of the "10 Days" series as educational.
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Glenn Russell
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EuroRails, Empire Builder, and that family of games (with the Exception of Iron Dragon) are all great for teaching Geography.
 
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Brian Mayer
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Hello!

I love hearing that other educators are bringing board games into the classroom. I work for a school library system where we have a good collection of board games that we circulate to approximately 60 libraries for use as educational resources to support the curriculum. You can check out our website and see what we have in our collection.

We have also done a lot of work connection modern board games to both NY State Learning Standards and the American Association of School Librarians Standards for 21st-Century Learners.

There are a lot of quality games that scratch the educational itch.

Power Grid is a wonderful game that introduces the concepts of renewable and non-renewable resources and the market economy.

We use 1960: The Making of the President in high schools all the time. You can split the kids into 2 teams and have them work together as the campaign managers for the two candidates.

Bolide equals physics! Vectors and momentum.

Oregon is a fun exercise in the Cartesian coordinate system.

And there are so many more!

I also blog about board games in school libraries, offering musings and recommendations at Library Gamer so feel free to stop by there as well.

I hope this has been of some help in getting together some resources. Please feel free to download the alignment documents to share with other teachers and administrators to build support for the great thing that you are doing.



 
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Michael Noakes
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Hello,

I feel terrible! When I posted this question, I was new to BGG and wasn't sure how to track a question I'd thrown out there--and completely forgot that I'd ever posted it. Now I come back and discover all sorts of wonderful and hopeful answers.

As a follow-up, I can say that we more or less threw any overt attempt at educational content out the window; the group (all boys) really got into their D&D 4e and really wanted to stick with that.

(I'd argue that there's still a value to it all, but the whole thing might be a bit harder to sell to the headteacher.)

There's been the occasional break--we tried Arkham Horror, some Lord of the Rings, and most recently Battlestar Galactica (which they absolute adore, even if they usually just throw me in the brig straight away: "don't let him be Admiral! He's a teacher, he's already got enough power!"), but I think I might drop Power Grid on them next to mix it up a bit.

Still, I'm certainly going to look into those recommendations, and see what I might be able to use. I'd especially like to integrate something into the classroom itself, and try to base a scheme of work around a good game. Harder to do as an English teacher, though....

Thanks for the help, and any more suggestions greatly appreciated!
-M.
 
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Walter Poelzing
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Hello Michael,

Thought I'd put in a plug for Prove it!.

It's a geometry card game that helps students to learn the properties of what makes a specific 4-sided figure.

Pretty easy concept.

Just check out

http://www.gamesforthemind.com/proveit/index.htm

This a real educational game.. and it's pretty easy to understand.

Just check out the video link.Hope it helps.

-W
 
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April VanGelderen
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Weloi Avala wrote:
Hello,

I'm a teacher of English at a school in East London and have recently founded a Gaming Club--am still working out how to spin the 'educational' aspect of it all, but I've got a small group of teens eager to join and hopefully over time it'll grow and expand. We're starting with a bit of RPG, but I hope to diversify into boardgames as well.

What games can you recommend that it'd be easy to spin as 'educational'?

I'm giving my first try at 'educational gaming' tomorrow actually, bring Agricola into a small (3 student!) SEN classroom to try and generate some inspiration for their English class. Hopefully it doesn't confuse the heck out of them!

-M.


Sorry I'm comming into this late, but there is one called "real Deal" It's targeted for high risk teens and potential drop-outs, but If I remember right it could be also for self advocacy reasons too. But it's educational. I think the target is middle school, but I played it with a few collage aged people. It still was fun. I don't know if that's going to help you, but I thought I'd give it a try lol.
 
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Darren Thornton
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Weloi Avala wrote:

As a follow-up, I can say that we more or less threw any overt attempt at educational content out the window; the group (all boys) really got into their D&D 4e and really wanted to stick with that.


Don't worry about the educational aspect. Role-playing means they are reading, doing maths, problem solving, socialising and learning to empathise (if they do the roleplay aspect properly.)

I have started a Wargaming club in my school who I plan to introduce to roleplaying next year. I keep a few packs of playing cards handy, they loved Dungeon and Mall of Horror but did not have the patience for Risk. (Bless 'em they are Y7s)

Would love to know how you managed to fit in a game of Arkham and what year group the group is comprised of?

Keep the faith!
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Michael Noakes
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I took the same approach, really, soon giving up on the idea of 'overt' education through gaming and accepting the goodness that comes through passively as the game is played.

I planted the idea at the end of year 8 with a pair of pupils in one my classes, and at the beginning of year 9 they recruited a few more and we started. As I needed a bit of time to assemble a D&D campaign (and I was waiting for the Character Builder to work properly) we played a few games of Arkham Horror, which I figured would make a good intro as an RPG-lite kind of game. They loved it, even as they loss miserably. Bonus: a lot of reading in that game!

On weeks when I wasn't quite ready to DM we fell back on a few other games: Agricola flopped, but Battlestar Galactica was a big hit. Surprisingly, Power Grid was as well.

The only problem with it being fundamentally an RPG-based group rather than more boardgaming-oriented is that it limits the size of the club: myself and five players, especially as I don't think I could handle a larger group than that for D&D.

You can read about how the first year of playing D&D as an after-school club went over in the D&D forums: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1138720.
 
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