We’ve all heard the expression, “It’s all fun and games until someone ____” (fill in the blank with your consequence of choice, be it “gets hurt,” “falls off the bed,” “spills the milk,” etc. But what if the outcome was positive, rather than negative? Imagine, “It's all fun and games until someone learns something new today!”
This is exactly what’s behind the principles of game-based learning: using games and having fun to teach lessons in the classroom. And it can be a fantastic way to help students learn new material or content that might otherwise be less interesting to them or difficult to grasp. An added bonus is that kids tend to retain more too when they are engaged, interacting and enjoying their work.
Ways to Incorporate Game-Based Learning
The idea of playing games in the classroom to help students learn sounds like fun for all, but how can teachers incorporate this concept into their actual lesson plans? Here are a few ideas that can spark your imagination for how to use game-based learning in real-life scenarios:
Kahoot! is a web-based learning platform that taps into the competitive nature of students so teachers can deliver their lessons in a manner that will allow students to level up on learning. The system can be used to generate quizzes that cover any subject, and in any language, that students of all ages can play or respond to on any device.
For example, if a 8th grade math teacher wants to put together a quiz on algebra, all her students can participate even if some of them are logged in from home. All the students race to select the correct answer and the system automatically tabulates the winner. Students love the fast-paced, fun nature of the game and they all strive for bragging rights, never even realizing the powerful effect the game has had on their learning and retention.
Board games can offer a variety of options for game-based learning, both with which format to choose and what skills or lessons can be taught while playing. Think of a board game you enjoy, and there is likely a learning component to how the game is played and how to win, even when players don’t realize it.
For example, Monopoly is an excellent game to help learn decision-making, math, strategic thinking and more. Scrabble is another example that builds on vocabulary lessons and helps teach spelling, while also incorporating an element of math used in keeping score.
Puzzles can take dozens of forms and be used to teach in limitless ways. Think beyond traditional puzzles, and consider the many puzzle-based games that exist as well, like sudoku, crossword puzzles, word search games, Rubik’s Cube and so much more that teach math, spelling, vocabulary, strategic and critical thinking, problem solving, and the list goes on.
Especially helpful for visual learners, jigsaw puzzles can also be created, printed out and cut into pieces so students have to put them together in just the right order to complete the correct spelling of words or phrases, math equations, accurate geography and beyond.
Shop Classroom Prizes
Now, no game time would be complete without prizes to add to the fun and make it even more enticing for the students to win (a.k.a. learn, in this case), so teachers may want to have an assortment of prizes on hand for the occasion. Luckily, GEDDES has tons of student prizes to choose from as rewards for game-based learning in the classroom. Contact us today or request a school supply catalog and learn more about all the options from Raymond Geddes.