Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lost in TIme: Interactive Civil War Game

Oh. My. Goodness. I love the state of Alabama. I love that I come from Alabama, that I live in Alabama, that Alabama is steeped in Southern charm, and that Alabama is full of a rich history. When I see a website like this one, though, which is created by the Missouri History Museum, it makes me want to say, "GET IT TOGETHER ALABAMA!" 

This game is Lost in Time and it is fantastic. It is animated. It is interactive. It is engaging. Students learn a LOT.  

The premise of the game is that students are on a field trip to the Missouri History Museum where students are not allowed to touch anything, but you as the player touch something that sends you back to Civil War times. You have to help several key types of people in order to get home. You help a civil war doctor on the battlefield, a slave escape, a homefront lady fight fire, and more. Although this game is targeted to teaching Missouri history, the students still learn great deal about what the civil war was like for people during that time.

Tip: When you let students play this game, provide a scrap piece of paper and pencil. They need to write down the code that appears after the game starts. If they are unable to finish the whole game, they can put that code in at a later time to complete the game. At the end of the game, students solve a code. I think I will require that my students turn in the resulting sentence as part of their participation grade. How many teachers do that? Play a game to get an A. I heart it.

I still wish Alabama would make one of these for Alabama...for every time period. If I knew how to make them, I SO would. If anyone from Alabama Archives or the Alabama Dept. of Education is reading this and would like to hire me to learn how to do that and to actually do it, I accept.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Sail to Victory! An AWESOME 1812 USS Constitution Game

This is the second post, the follow-up post, to the last post that I posted. It is embarrassing how long I played this game. The game is Sail to Victory!, and it is project of the USS Constitution Museum. 

I taught a leave of absence for a 5th and 6th grade computer teacher at the end of the school year. The job was perfect for me. I could find computer games and play them to evaluate them basically all day while students worked and/or played whatever I assigned. I spent at least a day playing this game.

In my last post, I posted an interactive activity in which you got to explore the USS Constitution in 1812. In this game, you actually join the USS Constitution in 1812. You have to make decisions about what to buy to survive before you start. Then, you begin your job as the lowest rank in the ship, a boy. You get to do the hard and disgusting jobs, like in this picture where you have to kill the rats on the ship...and that is not the most disgusting job. You also have to make decisions about who to tattle on to the superiors, whether or not to gamble with shipmates, whether or not to participate in telling tall tales, and so much more in addition to your jobs. You get promoted as you play the game, and you earn newer, cooler jobs as you are promoted through the game. You eventually even get to shoot ships during the battles of the War of 1812! 

Coolest. Game. Ever. You participate in nearly every job that was available on the USS Constitution during 1812 as well as the social life of that time. I would tell you more, but I would like to go play again. 


Friday, June 1, 2012

Explore Old Ironsides - The USS Constitution in 1812

Above is a screenshot of what you'll see when you enter the Explore Old Ironsides interactive activity. This website makes me sooooo happy. Why can't there be websites like this one for every subject in history? I learned a LOT from this website, and I had a lot of fun. In fact, I didn't realize I had learned anything until I had played with this one for hours. And isn't that what we want for our students anyway? We want them to learn something while only realizing that they are having fun.

In this interactive activity, you will get to go to all areas of the USS Constitution as it was in 1812. You get to click on all kinds of stuff in each scene. Some objects make noise. Some people tell you things about themselves. Sometimes you learn a bit more about different objects and activities. Sometimes you get an animation.

The cartoon renditions are fantastic, but they portray everything realistically. You may even hear "Gross," "Cool," "Ewww...," and even a couple of giggles as your kiddos explore this ship. I don't want to say more because I don't want to give anything away, but I want you to know that this website is most definitely in my TOP 10!

There is even an activity that goes with this activity, but I recommend letting your students explore this one first. This would even be a good activity for the SmartBoard...

I'll post about another incredible, awesome, over-the-top activity that goes with this one in a couple of days...or longer...I'm in grad school again, friends. I'm taking nine hours in eight weeks. Yes, I realize that I am crrraazy. :)