Gateway Games

Gamification can certainly be overwhelming as one venture’s into the many options available when adding gamification to the classroom.  What if you could try gamification on a small scale?  Start with a day or two, moving to three or four days once your comfort level increases.  The games listed here will help ease gamification into your classroom. Gamifying your classroom is not an all or nothing way of teaching.  There are multiple ways to bring this fun and engaging tool to your toolbox.

1. Farming for Facts

This is an easy way to get students excited to not just read, but comprehend what they are reading! Choose an article/story for the class to read. Share the title with the class. The students then have five minutes to write as many facts/ideas they believe will be found in the reading. Begin reading the article/story aloud, asking students to highlight anything found on their list. Each item found can be worth a certain amount of XP, which is like a classroom currency, or a certain number of points. Students will be listening and be actively engaged as they look for their facts.

2. Summer Vacation

Using a homework assignment, explain to students that all correct answers will be worth a certain amount of “Beach Bucks”. This is a great opportunity to be as mysterious or forthcoming as you want. Theatrics is a great way to build anticipation! Wearing a ring buoy, sunscreen on your nose, sunglasses, and a towel slung around your neck, will not only create a buzz but students will run through your door waiting to see what is next. The next day, unveil a number of items that students may purchase based on the “Beach Bucks” they earned from their homework. This is where the differentiating occurs. Students with more correct answers will have more money. Students will need to purchase tickets to go to a certain destination for their vacation. The closer destinations will have basic activities due to the lack of correct answers, and farther destinations will be activities meant to stretch those who did well on the homework. For students who are highly competitive, offer a “Top Secret” island destination if some kind of extra mission is completed.

3. Racing (to the end of the year, to Spring Break, to Winter Break)

Begin by giving the students an introductory assignment.  This may be homework, an article to read (see Farming for Facts above), a class discussion, any assignment or activity where student involvement and/or correct answers will give the students some sort of currency.  Prior to the assignment, build excitement with props, mysterious statements, sound effects, anything to increase their interest and engagement.

Once students have earned their currency, they have the opportunity to choose the sponsor of their race car.  Create different sponsors that are worth different amounts.  For example, M&Ms might be a $200 sponsorship while Mountain Dew is a $300 sponsorship.  If students received a perfect score they could create their own sponsorship and design their own cars.

Over the next few days students will gather their crew (which will increase the time in pit stops) and gather the fuel they need for the race.  This is done by completing activities related to the topic.  Once each student has their fuel and their crew (and completed their activities), the students are ready for the assessment: the race.

The assessment is set up as several stations.  This will allow students to complete a lap around the room which is essentially the race.  Pit stops are time to stop and look at notes, speak to their crew, or ask questions of the teacher.  Fuel can be related to how many activities are completed (more would allow for a better grade).

Finish the assessment with winning pictures at the finish line for each student.