It must go back to my experience as a fifth grade teacher. My curriculum totally lended itself to playing educational games... (I feel the same way to putting concepts to song.)
Over the weekend, I picked up a sweet little game with the intention of adding it to my classroom library. Keep your "Clue" and "Game of Life" at home, we are blending educational with academic here!
So, the sweet little game I picked up, Constitutional Quest, comes with great reviews on amazon. (Although one of the reviews had to have been written by a troll.) I can't wait to use my mandatory study hall time to get kids involved in board games instead of texting or doing other people's homework.
I also have the game Power Grid chilling in my class, which I use during my comparative econ unit. I will admit, this class is not as intuitive as CQ, and I have modified the instructions so that we can get a few rounds in within the 80 minute block. However, kids do get to apply basic economic concepts to the game, and I have them do a written summary at the conclusion.
I quickly thought, what else is out there? Well, here are my top three picks for games to purchase in the future.
1. Parli-Cards U.S. Senate Game: This game has been on the market for about four years, but gets some pretty cool reviews. There are also games that teach kids the alphabet soup of DC, and a Founding Fathers and Presidents pack.
2. Founding Fathers Game: There is nothing like an RPG that sends kids back to that hot, stinky, smelly summer of 1787. While the major critique of this game is that it is highly textual and reliant upon your knowledge of the convention. Well, I think my kids may be able to handle it.
3. The Presidential: Another great example of a well-reviewed RPG, here kids work through the nomination and election of the presidency. Even has a great review from a teacher!
If you are looking for ways to review or use dead class time in fun and exciting ways, here is a way to start. Doesn't matter the skill level of your kids; all can benefit from friendly competition and application of content!
I also have to give a shout out to my PTSA. They have been super supportive of purchasing some of these games for my classroom, to really extend and enrich learning. That is what an awesome PTSA does!
Photo via Flickr/Ted Eytan