It’s another Fun Friday, and I think you are really going to like today’s resource.
I first found out about SpaceTeam by reading iGamemom. She has a great review of the app (which is free) here.
Before I launch into how we used it in class, I will warn you that this app has a 9+ age rating. So far, my daughter and I have played it numerous times, as have my students. We have not seen anything objectionable about this app. If you do try it, and you see a reason for that rating, please let me know.
SpaceTeam must be played using 2-4 iDevices in the same room. You can use iPod Touches or iPads. Once a player opens the app, it will automatically connect with up to 3 other devices. You must “beam” yourselves up to a spaceship. On your screen will appear a dashboard. This dashboard looks different for every player, and has different components, as well. Instructions will appear on your screen above the dashboard, telling you to do things like, “turn off the novacrit,” or other commands. If you don’t have that component on your screen, you must direct the other member(s) to do this. If everyone is successful in conveying and following instructions, then your team goes on to the next level.
This game is particularly fascinating to observe. The kids start talking gibberish, basically, and only the partner with that component can interpret it. Although, sometimes, the directions are silly, like, “Change the litterbox!” Listening to that being called out in desperation can be quite amusing. Also, they encounter asteroids sometimes, and have to shake their devices to avoid them.
Believe it or not, even though this makes a fun party game, it is also educational. I had my 4th grade group evaluate their experiences after playing, and extend their comments about the game to the more general difficulties people often have with communicating: too many people talking at once, not hearing what you expect to hear (if someone pronounced the words in a different way), how yelling at people does not ensure that you will be understood, etc…
One caution I would give you if you have multiple teams playing at the same time is to start off with groups of four, one at a time. Since four is the max, then you will not have to worry about teams mixing with each other. My 5th graders tried playing in pairs with our old iPods, and their teams kept switching. Once we tried the groups of 4, though, it went great. However, it was quite loud!