Video games are one thing that today's students are for the most part obsessed with. Even people that would not consider themselves gamers do in one way or anther play some kind of game. As a teacher I also love video games so this mash up felt like second nature to me. This is the story of how I was able to capture the attention of my seventh grade class and engage students that had been up until this point been troublemakers.
On our launch day students were introduced to the empires we would be covering in this unit with a traditional slides presentation but then the presentation shifted to a trailer from Fortnite season 5, I put this in the presentation as this season was designed around the idea of things from the real world ending up in the game. Once that was done students were going crazy they had no idea why I had just showed them that. The next slide I showed them was the map of Fortnite because one of the first things players do in the game is decide where to land. The map was split between all of the civilizations that students had to choose from.
Once Students had discussed with their group what their top choices were I randomly selected groups and gave them a chance to write their name on that space on my board. Then we got into the actual expectations for the project by covering a list of in game content they would be creating. The key here is that all of the content they made had to showcase a part of their empire's society which could be; style of dress, military, food, culture, religion... etc. The END PRODUCT the students will create is a binder that contains final draft sketches of each piece they design and write-ups that explain the importance/influence of the empire on the in game content they're drawing.
Launching The Project
Students used the group organization documents from the Buck institute to organize and divide the work. Once they finished this part I gave them a couple days to simply start looking for information. During these times I always had a slide on the screen which contained some of the constraints to help them look for information as the went. This included things like the time frame, other keywords for each empire and location names. Students are also told that for each item they will be drawing or modeling they will need to create a 2-3 paragraph write up as well explaining the importance or connection of the game content they are creating.
Now we're into the main part of the project. Students are required to check in with the teacher on a daily or every other day basis. They must also keep a complete project log of where they are in the work process with all of their content. If a student misses a deadline they are given a strike, three strikes and you are kicked out of your group.
Other Resources and Tips
A few quick final details:
- I allowed students to trace photos if they wanted because I'm not testing students ability to draw. If they found a photo of a Roman soldier that they wanted to use as a skin they could trace parts of it onto a fresh page of paper to include in their book.
- For students that did not like the Fortnite part of this project I reminded them that this is more of a research project that they are just getting the chance to draw with.