Saturday, March 22, 2014

Learning with Games of the Week: Tokaido, New World Carcassonne, The Presidential Game

By Nina Kendall

Want to help your students or children connect better to the world around them? Trying to engage in conversations about culture, politics or economics with youth? Games are a great place to start. When learning new things we try to make on of 3 types of connections: text-to-text, text-to-self, or text-to-world. Like books and movies, games can serve as a text. In this article, we look at how 3 games will help you relate your experience with games to event and concepts.

Tokaido is an enjoyable board game in which you travel along an imaginary road. To me it invokes thought of the Silk Road and trade and exploration in Asia. This game can help students connect to other cultures in a more concrete way. As they make their way along the road they have to make decisions about trading, visiting at temples, and eating. Their choices lead to varying levels of success. The more balance they find in their choices of activities the more success they find in the game. This game provides a point of comparison for the culture you enjoy and others you study. Help others discover the components of culture and make comparisons between what they live or have studied and what happens in the game.

 Carcassonne is game that provides you with an opportunity to understand geography and development.  In the original Carcassonne  you experience growth and development in the French countryside. In New World Carcassonne, you help  to colonize the east coast of the New World. This game combines an understanding of geography and economic decision-making to develop successful settlement. Learn what makes some places successful and others die. Connect the action to local events in your part of the world or teach students about the transformative nature of development in the past.  These games reminded me of lessons teaching how the development of infrastructure like the transcontinental railroad and the interstate system changed the development patterns of cities and states leading some to growth in some areas and decline in others.  Topics I have taught in both geography and history classes. Want to spice up your classroom or help your child connect to their history class? This is the game for you.

The Presidential Gme is a great way to explore the Electoral College and the electoral process. this game you have to use strategy to compete for vote to win the presidency. You learn to make choice about what states you work in and what states you do less work in . You gain votes and lose votes . When playing we quickly came into direct competition in large states like Texas and California. This game would help provide people with insight into the decisions candidates make as they run for President.  This game could be played in small groups or tracked over time with small groups of students acting as competing political parties. No matter how you play or who you chose to play with it is time to run for president. Will you be the winner?

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