Games for Learning…Part II

I was going to write about something completely different today, an ecogame website. However, every time that I have tried to access it recently, my virus protection program pops up to tell me that there are Trojan horses associated with the site. And so I will leave well enough alone.

Instead, I will go back to my tried and true favourites. Back in October I mentioned an online game called Fantastic Contraption.  It is a game where you have to build a contraption out of wheels, sticks, and water in order to get a pink ball into a goal zone. Apparently there is now a second version of this game, Fantastic Contraption 2, with new levels and challenges to solve.

The other game that I love is called Launchball. In this game, the task is also to get a ball into the goal zone. This time, though, it is done through creating machines that are all energy based. Players need to use electromagnets, solar cells, battery packs, fans, and various other energy systems to create a machine that will move the ball into the “endzone”.

I introduced both of these games to my students at the beginning of our systems unit, so that they could have a fun way to consider inputs and outputs and how combinations of items can work to an advantage or disadvantage. The students were hooked. After having a few days to explore, they were eager to share their designs with their peers. (Both games allow the user to save designs.) The students were all excited to see what others had created. After playing both games, many students came away with a favourite of the two, and that choice differed among students. I, too, have a favourite. Do you?

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