Gaming Science and Writing
Kevin Hodgson, 6th grade language arts teacher in Southampton, Massachusetts, brought design thinking into his classroom this year with a video game design project. A collaboration with colleague science teacher, Lisa Rice, and co-teacher, Bob Smith, the project tasked students with the creation of a science-themed video game using Gamestar Mechanic.
Hodgson and his colleagues created a website, Video Game Design, as a way to share their practice with other educators. The site outlines the elements of the unit and includes downloadable resources and curriculum materials for teachers to use or modify. It also includes video clips of Hodgson, his colleagues, and his students reflecting on the project at different points along the way.
The students created games that highlighted a geological concept they were studying in science. As part of the project requirements, students needed to use key science vocabulary and create a storyline for their game. Hodgson and his colleagues emphasized the writing process as students created their games, with guiding activities for pre-writing, drafting, revising, and evaulating their creations.
The Video Game Design website is a fantastic resource for educators interested in design thinking or video game design in the classroom. On the last page of the website, Hodgson shares his reflections on the unit as a whole, proposing ways he might revise the video game design project with future groups of students.
Check out my interview with Kevin Hodgson on page two of this resource to learn more about why a teacher would consider asking language arts students to create video games.