Category Archives: Games

Refraction

image credit: http://games.cs.washington.edu/Refraction/

I first learned about the web game, “Refraction“, from Julie Greller’s post on “A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet”.  Since my 5th grade daughter happens to be knee-deep in fractions right now, I was intrigued by Julie’s description of the game, which involves guiding lasers to power spaceships.  I followed her link to the game to check it out for myself.

Big mistake.

I really didn’t need another internet addiction, but “Refraction” has all of the elements that make it worthy of adding to your Favorites list.  First of all, your mission is to help the poor, lonely spaceships of animals drifting along with no fuel.  So, that should appeal to everyone’s heroic inclinations.  Secondly, the game slowly introduces challenges that keep it from becoming boring, but also make you do some mental gymnastics.  More and more spaceships need fuel, and some need a quarter of your laser beam or a third or a half.  Math and logic are definitely necessary skills in order to succeed in this game!

iCivics Update

image from: icivics.org

I have posted about iCivics.org a couple of times on my blog- once about the website, spearheaded by Sandra Day O’Connor, and once about the awesome free app, Pocket Law Firm.  As today is Election Day, I thought it would be appropriate to once again mention the value of iCivics.org.  According to the site, “In 2009, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded iCivics to reverse Americans’ declining civic knowledge and participation. Securing our democracy, she realized, requires teaching the next generation to understand and respect our system of governance.”  Since my first post on this topic, over a year ago, iCivics has gained even more features.  It has become a robust resource with 16 games, 15 curriculum units, and a multitude of service projects.  Now, teachers can create their own accounts to which they can add classes, allowing them to track assignments and student progress.  Students can earn points for playing games, and “spend” their points on community projects that they favor.

Although the curriculum units are geared toward students in grades 6-12, some of the games, like “Cast Your Vote“, could probably be played by advanced 4th or 5th graders.

And, if you are a U.S. citizen, don’t forget to cast your own vote today! 😉

7 Hat Challenge (Reblog)

With U.S. election day quickly approaching, I thought I would reblog this post I did for Presidents’ Day.  If you are looking for some more election resources, check out KB Konnected’s post on The Democracy Project and other great links here.

7 Hat Challenge is a game hosted by Scholastic News that allows the player to choose the difficulty level, and then try to earn 7 different presidential “hats” of responsibility.  This is a good interactive that allows the player to learn more about some of the Presidents of the United States and their many roles.  For a plethora of Presidents’ Day activities, check out the post where I found this one on “Technology Rocks.  Seriously.”

Draw a Stickman Epic

The makers of “Draw a Stickman” have just released a new version, “Draw a Stickman Epic“.  At this time, it is available for iPhone, iPad, and Windows 8.  The Android app is coming soon, according to the developer’s website.  “Epic” comes in the free, trial version, or the paid version ($1.99).  The main difference is the number of levels.  With the free version, you get 3 levels, and the paid version offers 14.  The other difference, I would assume (since I have not purchased the paid version), would be the presence of ads.

Epic” is much more interactive than its predecessors, and demands the use of some problem-solving skills in order for your stickman character, which you will draw, to rescue its stickman friend (which you will also draw).  In order to do this, you must strategically draw fire to destroy obstacles, as well as rain clouds.

Draw a Stickman Epic” would be a good app to use as a reward or in a center for students.  With a projector, it could even be a whole class activity; after a level is completed, the students could write about what happened, and even use it as a story starter for further adventures.

SuperThinkers

Peter Reynolds, author and illustrator of The Dot, as well as many other books, is the mind behind SuperThinkers.  This website, designed for students in upper elementary and middle school, includes, games and activities that encourage: reading for meaning, logic, and reasoning skills.  According to the site, it “offers activities that require that students THINK before they click. Do not be surprised if some students find this site “too hard.” An important lesson in authentic learning is that it IS a challenge to think.”

The featured game on SuperThinkers is The Peetnik Mysteries, and I think students will enjoy making deductions based on the clues that are given.  The site also includes:  a creativity workshop, posters, and parent and educator pages.  In addition, there is a section on getting involved by helping others with your SuperThinker powers.

Imagination Foundation

image from: Imagination Foundation

I’m posting about this a bit late, I’m afraid.  I missed the boat on the Global Cardboard Challenge on October 6th.  But, I still think it’s worth your while to view the video, which is a sequel to the Caine’s Arcade video.  And, there is no saying that you can’t organize your own Cardboard Challenge in your classroom or school on whatever day you like.  Imagination Foundation offers supporting materials, and even has some curriculum aligned with the original Caine’s Arcade video.  The mission of the Imagination Foundation is to “find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids.”  It’s a relatively new site, but it looks like it has a lot of potential for engaging kids in re-connecting with good old-fashioned imaginative play.  And, if you are interested in sponsoring your own “Day of Play” in your neck of the woods, you might want to take a look at Kelly Tenkely’s description of  such a day recently held at her school, Anastasis Academy.