• 24 Mar
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    Did you ever think a Frog would be able to teach number lines?

    Treefrog Treasure, in our GameUp section is a maths game for children to explore fractions and match and/or compare fractional amounts. It’s also one of our most popular games.

    BrainPOP - Treefrog Treasure

    What is Treefrog Treasure?

    It’s an educational game that helps children 7-14 learn number line concepts while jumping, bouncing, sliding, and sticking to walls as a frog character. It develops understanding of fractions, estimating, absolute value, and ratios.

    The game has 3 worlds to complete, with 15 levels per world.

    The challenges get increasingly more complex as the student progresses through the game, but students are always reminded what they have learned when they complete a level.

    BrainPOP UK - Treefrog Treasure end of level

    How will this help with number line practice?

    Pupils, individually, as a team, or on an interactive whiteboard, will have fun establishing parts of a whole and their corresponding fractions.

    When certain obstacles are reached, a player must properly identify a target symbol, whole number, or fraction on a number line to collect gems and complete the level. Hints are provided to help the player reach the correct answer when mistakes are made.

    Success showers the player with gems, which must be collected to increase their final score.

    Is it easy to use?

    Pupils will need to be able to have a certain amount of control with a mouse or laptop trackpad, but that’s it. It’s very intuitive, and once the pupil understands the game mechanic they will happily play with little or no supervision.

    The first few levels do not involve fractions and provide time for students to get used to game play with basic maths skills so that they can focus on the more advanced maths skills later on.

    How can I blend this game into a lesson?

    1. Play our Fractions movie to the class, to make sure the concepts are fresh in their minds, and explain that they will be matching fractions to pictures of fractional amounts in a game called Treefrog Treasure.
    2. Instruct students to begin on the first level if you’d like them to have the opportunity to experiment with how the game works prior to having fractional amounts introduced in it.
    3. Allow students to play the game independently or with a partner (most students will not need instructions for game play and will be able to figure it out as they go).
    4. Draw students’ attention to the hints that are provided if needed. You can also show students how to turn the music off (using the icon in the lower right portion of the screen) if they are distracted by it.
    5. After approximately ten minutes, have students pause the game and talk with one another (or with you via a whole-class discussion) about strategies.
      • How can they tell the correct place to aim their frog?
      • What happens if they aim too low or too high?
      • Which maths skills do they need to be proficient at in order to be successful?
      • Provide additional concept reinforcement with other BrainPOP UK movies about fractions as needed.
    6. Provide another 10-20 minutes for students to finish game play. Any children who finish early can re-play their favorite levels. Some children may not be able to advance past all the levels, but encourage them to work as far as they can.
    7. Extend the learning:
      • Allow students to talk about the fractions they encountered during Treefrog Treasure.
      • Have them draw pictures of some of the fractional amounts from the game, then switch papers with a partner and practise writing the corresponding fraction.
      • Let students know they can continue playing Treefrog Treasure at home if they would like to try to advance through all the levels and beat the game!

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  • 14 Mar
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    Food chains are not only an important part of the curriculum, but can also help students become informed global citizens.

    But teaching food chains beyond memorised examples into a deeper level of understanding is a challenge.

    The overwhelming interconnectedness of living things within an environment can be difficult for children to grasp from worksheets, food webs, and visiting the garden.

    So, to help we’ve got a fantastic Food Chains movie and two educational games to bridge that gap.

    Getting started with food chains

    To help with the basics play our Food Chain Game. It’s a simple drag and drop sorting game that children of all ages could quickly grasp.

    Food Chain Game Screenshot

    In this game students must successfully complete different food chains by dragging the correct item into the slot.

    Food chains become progressively more challenging as students progress.

    When food chains are successfully completed a fun animation shows the chain in action. This functions not only to signal (and reward!) success but also to help them remember the solution.

    The game periodically updates you on your progress so far and reviews the chains covered.

    Food Chain Game Screenshot

    However if students reach 7 mistakes then they must start over from the beginning.

    Ready for something a bit more demanding?

    Once your students have mastered the Food Chain Game they can move on to our Food Fight game.

    Food Fight Game Screenshot

    In this two-player game students each choose a creature and compete against each other to grow the population of their creature and score the most points.

    Food Fight Game Screenshot

    The game’s length can be customised, so you can limit how much time students have if you want them to have to think quickly or you just have a limited amount of time to play during the lesson.

    You can choose between 28 or 14 turns, or 5 or 10 minutes.

    To increase their creature’s population they must create a successful food chain for that creature. They can also choose to undermine their opponent’s food chain as well.

    In the screenshot below the ‘cheetah player’ has added a predator who likes to eat the opponent’s creature: doves.

    Food fight Screenshot

    When players hover over their options at the bottom of the screen they can see what that option’s prey is (if they have any) and what are their predators (again if they have any) to inform their choices.

    The arrows show who’s eating what (or who). As the game progresses students can keep track of what effects their various actions have on the various populations.

    Wild cards can introduce different events that may affect the food chain like rain, fire, or poachers.

    Once the students complete the game they can compare their score and even start a rematch!

    Because of the large range of creatures to choose from this game has a lot of replayability and they can experiment with lots of different scenarios. You can even make a tournament out of it.

    For more ideas on how to use these games in your lessons be sure to check out the Food Chain lesson ideas and Food Fight lesson ideas.

    Good luck getting to the top of the food chain!

     

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  • 24 Jul
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    Sometimes it’s hard to pick yourself up when you get a knock to your confidence, especially when you’re a kid and everything seems to be another test or assessment that you can fail. We can’t all be Chumbawamba after all.

    It’s not surprising that kids in general feel a lot of pressure at school; they’re constantly being assessed and tested and obviously schools want to be seen to be doing well at Ofsted and in league tables. Past a certain age kids simply don’t often get to learn through experimentation and making mistakes the way we do when we’re infants, instead it’s all about results.

    Test Taking Skills Topic Screenshot

     

    Not forgetting that you also get kids who were born to be worriers who are just really great at catastrophising any small failure into a world-ending problem – leaving them unwilling to try again and with a huge dent to their confidence.

    On top of that, in a 2013 study* researchers at Stanford and the University of Chicago found that the way we praise children can affect their achievement and the way they handle failure. Whether children were predominately encouraged using “process praise” (where the praise is focused on their effort or actions e.g. “You’re doing really well.”) or predominately praised using “person praise” (where they are praised on a fixed quality e.g. “You’re so clever.”) affected how well the overcame setbacks and how they approached challenges.

    Moby-thumbs-up

    Children who were praised with process praise more were a lot more positive towards challenges and believed that they could improve with effort. On the other hand, children predominately praised with person praise were more likely to give up on a task if they didn’t immediately succeed, as they were more likely to believe that their abilities were fixed and not changeable through effort.

    Even more interesting was that parents of boys were more likely to use process praise than parents of girls. So, this could be part of the puzzle for the common problem of girls giving up on tasks in the classroom if they don’t initially succeed.

    So, with all of these challenges to helping students build resilience, what can you do in the classroom to help?

    I have one word for you. Games.

     

    Babies, toddlers, and infants all learn primarily through play. Everything is exploration and experimentation. Everything is a game (or food, but then again most of the time food is a game too). When we fail in a game it’s not the end of the world, we learn from it, and we use the information we’ve gained to do better. In fact a lot of the time in games you have to get it wrong before you can get it right. Not only is it a really effective way to learn, it’s an effective attitude for life in general. After all, when you get knocked down, you really do need to get up again. (Thanks Chumbawumba; you were wiser than we knew.)

    Baby Moby

    Imagine how terrifyingly fearless a toddler Moby would be

    Well, what kind of games?

    Pretty much any kind of game you can imagine really. Board games, card games, playground games, clapping games, video games (both educational and off the shelf) anything playful can go in your educational toolbox to help.

    Polyhedrons Topic Screenshot

    What can games do?

    • The students who tend to struggle get a chance to shine when games are in play when normally they might lack confidence academically. This can actually lead to them having more confidence in themselves going forward when they realise they’re not doomed to always be bottom of the class.
    • High achieving students have the furthest to fall and often the fewest tools to get themselves back up again if they do. It’s just as important to teach high achieving students to be resilient in the face of failure as it is with students with less ability.
    • Even the shyest kids in a class tend to relax when things are focused around a game – it’s almost like they forget to be shy.
    • You get to have fun too.

    Sentence Fragments Topic Screenshot

     

    It’s the playfulness of games that’s key to reminding students that failure isn’t something to dread, and the more they do it the less afraid they’ll be. Games are low stakes practice at handling failure and handling it well. Remember how terrifyingly fearless toddlers are? That’s because they’re not afraid of failing.

    The more a playful approach can be brought into the classroom, the more potential it has to bleed over into students’ other work and their life in general, raising confidence, creativity, and self esteem.

    Resilience can be learned and we can be resilient in our learning, but first we need to remember how to play.

    So, where can I find games to play?

    Games are all around us and you probably play games on your smartphone, with your friends and family, and you can probably think of the best games you used to play when you were child. It’s also pretty fun to come up with your own, but here’s a few suggestions for starting points:Video games on BrainPOP UK

    • Charity shops are a good place to find old board games (as is the attic). Board games have come a long way since you were a child and can teach a lot of different things from how fire spreads to how pandemics work and what you can do to stop them. (As well as the expected team work, co-operation, and critical thinking) And they’re not always competitive either!
    • Card games can be easily found from friends, family, and the internet and are often great for maths learning.
    • Co-operative story-telling games whether they’re cube-based (and a free BrainPOPped version), card-based, or completely in your head they are great practice for creative writing and drama projects and they’re a lot of fun too.
    • Off the shelf video games from Minecraft to Portal you can use these in an endless array of lessons and subjects. Your imagination is the limit (or possibly your googling ability as there are many free online lessons plans using these games just waiting to be found).
    • Educational games – good educational games can be hard to find but you can find a curated section of useful, free educational games (with BrainPOP resources readily available for if you get stuck) in BrainPOP UK’s GameUp section
    • Friends and family – even adults love to play!
    • Ask your students! Not only will they be keen to tell you they’ll often let slip what they’ve been learning through it so it will be easier to integrate into a lesson.

    If you would like to read more about how to incorporate games into your lessons or why they’re great you can find our other resources on gaming in schools here.

    *Parent Praise to 1-3 Year-Olds Predicts Children’s Motivational Frameworks 5 Years Later, Child Development.

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  • 15 Jun
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    Making sure that students at every level are equally engaged and learning is a constant challenge.

    Trying to manage learners with a wide range of ability and learning styles and successfully keeping them at the edge of their knowledge sounds an impossible task – especially with rising class sizes.

    Educational games can be a fantastic resource in a tiered learning environment, without creating a great deal of extra work for an educator to implement (particularly in maths).

    Monster School Bus is a maths game by New Mexico State University’s Learning Games Lab, and can be found in our GameUp section. In the game players drive a school bus, navigating fantasy neighbourhoods and collecting students before dropping them off at school.

    Monster School Bus

    How does it work?

    What makes this game more than a dull sounding driving simulator is that the students you’re collecting are monsters. Each monster student takes up a different number of seats depending on what type of monster it is.

    To maximise their points players must fill the bus in the most efficient manner using sets of tens with the groups of monsters they have been allocated on their route. The aim is to make as few trips as possible.

    When players drive their bus in front of students they automatically get onto the bus. When the bus is full they’re presented with a “FULL LOAD!” alert and they then can pick up potions which ‘rock out’ nearby buildings by turning them into monster-themed buildings (this part is awesome fun BTW).

    Students are awarded stars based on how many full loads they successfully complete and how many buildings they rock out.

    What’s driving a school bus got to do with Maths?

    This is a game that teaches integers, orders of calculation, decimals, and commutative property.

    Students must not only group the given numbers in sets of ten they must decide on an appropriate route to pick up students so they only pick up the ones that they intend to.

    Monster School Bus Screenshot

    1. Students can easily replay levels in order to maximise their score giving them practice and consolidating their number sense.
    2. As students progress through the game the puzzles become increasingly complex (in manageable increments).
    3. Because there are several elements to complete in each level in order to achieve a perfect score students are kept at the edge of their learning.

    Give Monster Bus a try today and see how many buildings you can rock out!

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  • 15 May
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    ICT is now “Computing” in the 2014 curriculum and there’s been a huge shift in focus toward teaching programming, but knowing where to start isn’t that easy.

    In fact, it’s pretty safe to assume that there’s lots of grown ups out there that need introducing to computing. The changes to what is now the computing curriculum can seem a bit daunting, especially if you don’t have any prior experience.

    With how busy teachers are these days it’s hard to find time in the day to find new resources let alone teach yourself a whole new skill-set which you then need to try and teach!

    So are YOU ready to embrace your inner geek? We are! Let’s do this!

    ComputerVirusesScreenshot3

    Thankfully programming isn’t as scary as it looks and, if you’re a native English speaker, the hardest thing you’ll have to do at first is learn to make yourself write in American English (as that’s what most programming languages use). It’s probably best not to have a cup of tea during your first few sessions of programming, so you don’t splutter into it in indignation and cover the keyboard in tea (it takes ages to clean it properly).

    How do I get started?

    It’s best to focus on the basics. Like when you first learned to read or to speak another language getting a solid foundation to build upon will stand you in good stead.

    You didn’t start off in French classes learning how to have a political discourse in classic French, so starting off with the programming equivalent of “Où est la bibliotèque?” while not particularly exciting is definitely wise.

    In terms of programming this means getting an understanding of the basics of:

    • What a programming language is and how it works
    • Programming key terms
    • Basic programming logic

    So what tools can you use to get your head around computer programming?

    First off to get a good idea of what it is and what it’s got to do with the box you mostly watch cat videos on. These 3 BrainPOP videos will give you a grounding in how computers work and the basics of what a programming language is, what it does, and why it’s useful. Just sit back and watch.

    1. Computer Programming

    BrainPOP UK - Computer Programming

    This BrainPOP topic covers what programming languages are, the basics of how they work, and the types of things they can be used for.

    2. Computer

    BrainPOP UK - Computer Topic

    This BrainPOP topic explains all about the hardware in your computer. What the different parts are, as well as the fundamentals of how they work and communicate. Having a basic understanding of the anatomy of your hardware makes it a lot easier to understand programming otherwise it can be a bit like trying to understand how you move your legs without knowing about muscles and bones.

    3. Binary

    BrainPOP UK - Binary Topic

    No, you haven’t fallen into “The Matrix”, this BrainPOP topic introduces you to the “language of computers” and how computers use binary to represent and store data. 

    How can I actually start coding?

    Okay so we have our overview of what a programming language is, the anatomy of a computer, and how a computer communicates, it’s time to actually start programming!

    Probably the easiest way to get started is to solve some puzzles using programming rather than actually try to start writing something from scratch – the equivalent of sounding out phonemes while learning to read rather than trying to write an essay right off the bat.

    There are a few different (free!) programming games on BrainPOP you can get started with for adults the best one to start with is probably Sketch Racer which is very reminiscent of LOGO, but if you’re particularly fond of puppies or sci fi then maybe Tynker: Puppy Adventure or Tynker: Lost in Space might be more your speed.

    Tynker - Lost in Space on BrainPOP

    The fantastic thing about these games is that they’re very beginner-friendly – they start slowly and build on your knowledge incrementally. If you make a mistake you can see almost right away and correct it easily (and, even better, no one will know you made a mistake either.) These games are a really solid way to get an initial grasp on the fundamentals before you get really stuck in.

    Some people just get on better with a more physical approach to learning and adults are no different. This lesson idea to get across how “instructions” work in programming is great in class but also for adults as well, all you need is to grab a friend, spouse, or particularly amenable family dog to get started.

    I’ve done all that so what do I do next?

    There’s a few different resources you can use to deepen your knowledge and really get to grips with programming and what you go for depends on what you want to get out of it. If you’re a Key Stage 1 or 2 teacher wanting to start teaching the basics to their students then resources like Scratch, Tynker, BBC Schools, Code Club, CodeHour of Code, and Raspberry Pi are all great places to explore.

    Key Stage 3 or more precocious students might also enjoy resources like W3 Schools – a platform for coding to build websites, Learn Python – a python programming language learning resource, Khan Academy and Code Academy.

    If you’ve discovered you really like coding and want to get more involved yourself then National Coding Week (coming up in September 2015) is a great place to start. If you can’t wait that long then your local library is a good place to get more intensive programming language books and online resources like Khan Academy and Code Academy have easy to use resources and helpful communities.

    Happy coding!

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  • 11 Mar
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    From September 2014 “computational thinking” and computer programming/coding will be part of the national curriculum, across all the key stages.

    Computer Programming BrainPOP UK

    We know this isn’t a challenge to be taken lightly so we’re here to help you meet it. And, perhaps, even make it fun 🙂

    To support schools and parents introducing coding we’ve done two things (the first of many to come):

    1. Created a brand new ‘Computer Programming‘ Topic, which explains the fundamentals underlying programming.
    2. Teamed up with our friends at Tynker to add their programming games to GameUp UK.

    Where should you start?

    First of all, use the ‘Computer Programming‘ Topic to introduce the concepts around coding – essentially how to think and act like a coder.

    Using these resources will build a level of comfort with potentially unfamiliar terms like ‘loops’ and ‘functions’. The movie also de-mystifies scary sounding words like ‘Variable’, ‘Condition’, and ‘Output’ – in the signature BrainPOP style, of course – which will prepare learners to tackle the accompanying ‘Identify It‘ activity.

    ComputerProgrammingScreenshot3

    But programming techniques don’t have to be taught digitally. In fact, a bit of hands on might work wonders.

    Our accompanying Lesson idea “Program your Partner” brings a physicality to a digital concept that can help students grasp the concept more easily. Aimed at Years 4 – 12, this hands-on, movement-based lesson, students will use BrainPOP UK resources as they are introduced to the concept of coding and programming. They will create short programs and sequences and then follow the computer programs from their individual partners.

    All you need are sticky notes!

    Now to get really playful.

    A great way to reinforce what they’ve learned is practice through play – from guiding a puppy to flying through space – using the four Tynker games in GameUp UK.

    Bonus tip: You can also download the new free Tynker app so continue your coding practice on your Apple device.

    Puppy Adventure

    After a day in the park, Pixel’s been left behind. Connect visual code blocks in the right way to help him avoid obstacles and get back home.

    Tynker - Puppy Adventure screenshot

    http://www.brainpop.co.uk/games/tynkerpuppyadventure/

    15 Block Challenge

    Create your own animation with programming blocks! What’s the coolest scene you can code using only 15 blocks?

    Tynker - 15 Block Challenge

    http://www.brainpop.co.uk/games/tynker15blockchallenge/

    Lost in Space

    Biff the spaceman has crash landed onto a deserted asteroid. Help him reach his moon base by solving these coding puzzles!

    Tynker - Lost in Space screenshot

    http://www.brainpop.co.uk/games/tynkerlostinspace/

    Sketch Racer

    Program Snap the turtle to draw shapes and patterns using simple commands that he can understand.

    Tynker - Sketch Racer screenshot

    http://www.brainpop.co.uk/games/tynkersketchracer/

    But don’t stop there! BrainPOP’s computer technology section includes topics like:

    • Computer history
    • Computers
    • Internet
    • Cloud computing
    • Data storage devices
    • Video games
    • Ada Lovelace

    …and more. These topics can help students understand how the technologies they use everyday work and the inspiring people who made them.

    We’d also recommend playing the Common Sense Media games ‘Search Shark‘ (helps you improve your search skills) and ‘Share Jumper‘ (making the right choices about sharing online).

    We’ll be reinforcing the range of coding support in BrainPOP UK over time. Let us know if it inspires you to get coding!

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  • 03 Dec
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    In Coaster Creator by The JASON Project you must use your knowledge of potential and kinetic energy to create the most fun roller coaster you can.

    Coaster Creator on BrainPOP UK

    Coaster Creator encourages:

    • Problem solving
    • Logical thinking
    • A practical understanding of kinetic and potential energy
    • A basic understanding of how potential and kinetic energy interrelate
    • An appreciation of the usefulness of physics knowledge

    Students can experiment with different numbers of cars on their roller coaster, what their track looks like, and even what the coaster cars themselves look like! They can use trial and error to build their track and explore the different effects various decisions they make affect the safety of their ride and how fun it is.

    The game visualises the differences between kinetic and potential energy with a bar (see below) that uses colours to show what kind of energy is prevalent at each moment of the game.

    Coaster Creator energy visualisation bar

    At the end of the attempt the player is shown a chart showing a chart with their results. This help students develop an intuitive understanding of the complexity of kinetic and potential energy which they can then use to perfect their roller coasters – plus their understanding of the concept itself.

    As well as helping them to improve their scores the data provided also helps students learn to interpret and apply data for greater success.

    How does Coaster Creator work?

    1. Students are presented with a roller coaster that they can customise with various different animals and colours (we’re quite fond of the swift green shark).
    2. They choose the number of cars they wish to use from a minimum of one and a maximum of 8.
    3. Students then design their track by dragging the end point of the track to the angle required and adding either loops or hills to it by selecting the associated button.

    In the next section the player can see their roller coaster in action and see where it is successful and unsuccessful and why. The game also features a dynamic display of the equations used to calculate potential and kinetic energy so the player can see the differing values caused by the different parts of their track.

    Screenshot from GameUp's Coaster Creator

    The player can pause their coaster at any point during the test and can reset back to the beginning. At the end of the test the results screen is shown with a graph showing the energy in the system.

    Students can interact with the data by dragging the bar to see how their coaster’s speed changed over the course of the ride. On the final screen the game breaks down the player’s score (which can be printed). By hovering over the sections the game gives you a hint on how to improve that particular element.

    By clicking reset the player is taken back to the very beginning but their coaster design and track are preserved. The player can then change them (or completely start over) as they choose to try and improve their score.

    While there is no level system, players can make it harder or easier on themselves by setting targets at their own pace or by having challenges set by the teacher. For example, including a certain number of hills, a loop, or executing a perfect stop. This creates a high level of replayability and students can compete for the best score. The more they play and challenge themselves with increasing complexity the greater their grasp on the concepts will become.

    What makes it a good educational game?

    • Coaster Creator manages to visualise a difficult to grasp concept in a very interactive way which allows students to gain an intuitive understanding.
    • By challenging themselves and each other with increasingly exciting roller coasters students both practice more and understand better how they can apply this knowledge leading to a deeper understanding and greater knowledge retention.
    • Students can use the data presented within the game to improve their performance – this can also improve their ability to analyse, interpret and utilise data as well as see how it can be useful outside of the classroom.
    • The nature of the game encourages a trial and error approach promoting curiosity and mitigates the fear of failure.

    Using the game with a class – hints and tips

    • While this game can work really well as a front of class resource with the whole room contributing I prefer to set this particular task individually or in pairs initially. I find that kids find it easier to experiment while working alone or in small groups. I then have individuals show their best roller coaster to the class and explain why they chose to do what they did, what about it made it good, and what they would do to make it better.
    • I give kids a challenge sheet with this game. I make up a list of things to accomplish (such as a roller coaster with a loop) and give them a sticker for each one accomplished on this sheet. I order them by difficulty so kids who get the concept quickly are kept busy by more intimidating challenges. If they manage to finish them all quickly I have the kids who are finished work together to create new (but possible!) challenge ideas which they then have to try and complete.
    • Score board! I also have kids rate each other’s roller coasters as to how much they would like to ride on them as well as the score given in the game.

     

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  • 06 Nov
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    We’ve added 3 new amazing learning games to GameUp UK! We’ll be doing more in-depth game guides soon but here’s a quick snap shot of each one.

    Quandary By Learning Games Network, in our English category

    Shape the future of a new society while learning how to recognise ethical issues and deal with challenging situations.

    Quandry on BrainPOP UK

    Refraction – By Center for Game Sciencein our Science category

    Learn fraction concepts while saving animals stuck in space. Teacher assessment portal (available soon!) shows each student’s understanding.

    Refraction on GameUp UK

    Ice Cream Truck – By Hooda Math®, in our Maths category

    Master budgets and cost management to try to turn a profit running your own ice cream van business!

    Ice Cream Truck on GameUp UK

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  • 23 Aug
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    In Guts and Bolts by BrainPOP from our GameUp UK section you must use problem solving skills and knowledge of body systems to help Moby construct a functional cyborg Tim.

    Guts and Bolts encourages:

    • Logical thinking
    • Problem solving
    • Understanding of biological processes
    • Understanding of how parts of the body interrelate
    • A basic understanding of the scientific method and experimentation

    Students can experiment with how different parts of the body work and interrelate. The player can drag organs on to the play area and connecting them by dragging pipes to carry the fluids from place to place. By doing this the player can then work out the functions of different parts as well as what they what they need to function.

    Each level increases in complexity, from level one showing the basic concept and controls all the way up to the final level where the player must create a system that incorporates a heart, lungs, brain, stomach, and intestines as well as veins and arteries.

    The increases in difficulty are enough to pose a challenge without being discouraging. Some kids playing this game at school have even refused to go home until they finish it!

    How does Guts and Bolts work?

    On each level you must build a working system using the parts given to you in that level. Some levels you must build a circulatory system or a respiratory system, in others you must build them both and hook them together! Each level builds on the previous one so the user must be constantly building on their knowledge to achieve the goal. For example, in the previous two levels you may have learned about the heart and the lungs, in the next level you must then combine that knowledge and make a system with the lungs and heart.

    The controls work by clicking and dragging and are compatible with interactive whiteboards. If the player can’t get the system to work and wants to start over they can easily clear the play area by clicking the “clear pipes” button and start from scratch.

    If the player is finding the levels too easy then they can choose a harder level from the list and navigate straight to it. Equally, if a level is too hard the player can go back to the menu and refresh their memory on earlier levels., alternatively players can refresh their memory on various body systems by watching the BrainPOP UK movies below the game without worrying about losing their place.

    Screenshot of Guts and Bolts

     

     

    Rewarding progress

    At the beginning of the game the player can watch a short movie showing Moby’s goal to create a cyborg Tim. At the end of the game, if the player has completed the final level they are rewarded with a funny ending movie where they can see the fruits of their labour. I will say no more to prevent spoiling it for you!

    What makes it a good educational game?

    • This game is great to use as a front of class resource – it’s visually very interesting and the concept and logical processes behind the game are very appealing.
    • By working out by themselves what particular body parts need and how they interrelate they more easily remember the concepts.
    • The slow increments in difficulty keep this interesting but not overwhelming for the player.

    Using the game with a class – hints and tips

    • The solutions to the levels in this game can perplex initially but kids often get the concept very quickly. Fight the urge to explain and instead let them have a few goes until they get a feel for it. If they master it independently it will boost their confidence. The player can also use the BrainPOP movies at the bottom to remind themselves how different body parts and systems work.
    • Leading questions such as “What does the stomach do?” and “What does the brain need?” also a help a lot to help them grasp it without too much interference.
    • This game is great to use as a front of class resource. Maybe get the whole class working together to solve the puzzles or have them take turns. One teacher told me some of her students taught the rest of the class how to play from the front of the class and they grasped it very quickly this way. (It was also good for the shy student!)

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  • 17 Jul
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    In Dublox by Hooda Math from our GameUp UK section you must use your spatial and transformation skills to flip the Dublox across a variety of terrains.

    Dublox encourages:

    • Logical thinking
    • Problem solving
    • Spatial awareness
    • Transformation skills

    Students can experiment with rotation and reflection by directing Dublox (the yellow block) across the floating terrain to the goal. The trick is Dublox can only move a certain number of tiles at a time, in only 4 directions. One false move and…over the edge you go!

    As the game increases in difficulty the student gains over time a strong sense of spatial awareness and the effects of rotation and reflection on the object.

    It’s also HUGE fun. We bet you send Dublox hurtling off the edge at least as often as you reach the target 🙂

    How does Dublox work?

    You must guide the Dublox, a small and surprisingly athletic block, across the board to the goal without falling off.

    The player must manoeuvre the block to the correct area and position by flipping the block into the right space using the arrow keys on their keyboard. If the block goes outside the board then the block vanishes and the level must be started again. Each level is different and requires the student to approach the puzzle in a slightly different way.

    The game tracks how many steps have been taken in the game, and how many steps have been taken in the level and displays it in the bottom right of the screen.

    Dublox game screenshot

    Rewarding progress

    The player earns bronze, silver, or gold medals based on their performance in the level. The player can also unlock achievements such as “Tasting” for completing the first 7 levels or “Brainy” for unlocking all of the bronze medals.

    The player can restart levels if they get stuck or just roll their Dublox off the ledge to start again. Although the steps used is kept in the player’s total it doesn’t affect their ability to earn medals on individual attempts. The game remembers where you left off so the player won’t lose their place if they stop playing.

    What makes it a good educational game?

    • The game allows students to explore transformation and rotation and apply it to problems giving them a deeper understanding of the topic.
    • The game is replayable and students can compete against each other and themselves to get the medals and least amount of steps.
    • The game encourages experimentation and the player loses nothing by failing. As students can work out themselves what works and what doesn’t they get a firmer grasp of the principles and uses of the concepts.
    • For any students getting frustrated they can watch the related BrainPOP movies under the game without having to navigate away from the game or losing their place.
    • Like all the GameUp games, Dublox has a dedicated quiz that you can use to check students’ comprehension before or after the game.
    • The game works really well used as a class resource on an interactive whiteboard or equally can be used individually or as homework.

    Using the game with a class – hints and tips

    • The controls in this game can perplex initially but kids often get the concept very quickly. Fight the urge to explain and instead let them have a few goes until they get a feel for it. If they master it independently it will boost their confidence.
    • This game is great to use as a front of class resource. Maybe get the whole class working together to solve the puzzles or split them into two competing teams. I pick a student from each team to have a certain number of goes at the controls before it passes to the next student/team (I usually accompany then until they win or up to three attempts). I encourage team members to discuss tactics and work together to solve the problems.
    • I find it useful to discuss with students how transformation and reflection can be useful in day to day life and encourage them to think of examples.

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