Have you heard of game-schooling? Kids learning by playing games! What’s more fun than that? I can see why game-schooling is a growing trend. I’m sure I learned to make change playing Monopoly. Or learned quick spelling skills by playing Boggle.
This post is sponsored by Legends of Learning and Women Online.
There’s a limit to how many games you can own, or how effectively they introduce and reinforce skills though. Online games can provide a greater range of targeted learning activities. I’ve been reviewing Legends of Learning, an online game-based science learning tool that makes teachers superheroes (I mean, more so than they already are!)!
Ways I Use Game-Based Learning
My kids think we play games casually for fun. But I usually have a strategic reason I break out the puzzles, dominoes or other games. Each game adds a layer to our learning:
- Introduce concepts
- Reinforce concepts
- Practice new skills
- Review previous skills
Game-based learning lets teachers tailor their lessons
Teaching groups of students is no easy feat. You have one lesson but greet twenty-plus young minds at different stages of understanding. Some students are avid readers your lesson topic and might even know more than you! Other students still struggle with reading itself, so they are not absorbing information at the same rate. The challenge for teachers is to advance each student to their next level, and help them grow to grade level standards by year end.
How can one teacher and one lesson achieve all this!? It is difficult, but with tools like game-based learning, teachers can cover more ground and tailor lessons specifically for individual students. Legends of Learning allows teachers to create playlists for a class unit or individual students or groups.
Legends of Learning is a science-focused game-based learning website offering options and flexibility in teaching. With games about Earth Science, Life Science and Physical Science, teachers can browse through various learning strands to find games that match their curriculum.
I played several Legends of Learning games with my kids, choosing topics we’ve studied in the past like plant parts or water cycles. Each game reviewed basic ideas (like evaporation, condensation, precipitation in the water cycle), then leads to a game using the concepts.
Game-based learning enhances science classrooms
Whenever my students walked into my classroom, at least a half dozen of them would ask, “What are we doing today?” Kids want to learn. But they don’t want to just sit and be drilled at all class period. I believe kids want to engage actively in their own learning! Games can offer this opportunity to students.
Visual interactive play adds sensory value to learning. For example: A textbook diagram of plant growth from seed to flower is static. Game play is dynamic!
In one game about plant growth, the boys moved plant roots around to get them to water (concept: roots seek water) so the plant could grow (the win!). With game-based learning, students put knowledge in action to problem-solve. In real life a plant would navigate around a rock to get water; in the game, my kids had to figure out how to manipulate the roots around rock obstacles to get to the water drop.
Sometimes the games took a practice round to get the idea of how to play but by round two they figured out the rules and played proficiently. I loved how the games reactivated prior learning and they didn’t even realize it!
I could see so many uses for Legends of Learning game-based education in the science classroom. If a student has been absent, they can catch up on concepts by playing a game (at home or at school!). Fast workers who finish their work early can play a challenge game to extend their learning. A child who has difficulty understanding an idea can “play it out” in a game and develop a stronger understanding. Use game-based learning as a reward for good class behavior, homework completion, and other class goals.
Free game-schooling platform for science teachers and students
So much of the Legends of Learning platform is free for teachers. Simply make an account, and browse the games. Find games that fit your curriculum and add them to a playlist. Legends of Learning has several games under each science learning strand. If you’re studying plants, space, molecules, erosion, habitats or dozens of other topics, there’s a selection of games for each concept!
Teachers can create a playlist for an entire class or specific students, allowing customization for each child in the class. Set a time limit for game play, and give students your special access code. Students will only be allowed to play the games you assigned for the time limits you set. As students play, teachers can monitor progress on their dashboard, pause game play (if there’s an interruption to the classroom), and track student achievement.
The science-based games on Legend of Learning are created by fellow teachers and are always being upgraded and refined through teacher and student feedback. Teachers can and should preview or play games before assigning to a playlist. Some games do use evolutionary theory concepts, so it’s wise to preview games to be sure they align with your school’s beliefs and academic standards.
If you’re an educator in a school or homeschool, check out how Legends of Learning can grow your students! They’ll have fun and learn at the same time!
Create a free account here, then browse the hundreds of games available and begin creating a playlist for your students! You’ll soon find game-based learning makes you an Education Superhero!
Parents! If you’re not a classroom teacher, you can send your child’s teacher the link to Legends of Learning or give them a call to tell them about it!
This post is sponsored by Legends of Learning and Women Online and I was compensated for sharing this message. All opinions are my own.