Tell Me Everything You Know
Our model of education focuses heavily on students being self reliant and taking responsibility for their own learning. If they want to know something, they are encouraged to research it, test it, and figure it out! Nobody is going to hand them the answer they are looking for and if we want them to be creative, entrepreneurial, and inventive self-starters when they are older, we have to build the habit when they are kids. They have to learn how to find the information for themselves and weigh it's validity. At the beginning of this school year, it was very evident that our student's curiosity was greater than their ability to look up and research things on their own. I came up with "Tell Me Everything You Know".
The game works is a random generator of sorts with a few variable inputs and the generator being... me. We start by selecting a category, like person, place, transportation, animal, etc. Then we select old or new, then real or fake. I then pull a topic out of thin air and they tell me everything that they know about the subject.
Today they selected Person, Real, and Old.
Guide: "Alright, tell me everything you know about Daniel Boone."
Eagle 1: "Is that Coach Boone?"
Guide: "You tell me!"
Eagle 2: "We've never heard of him before"
Guide: "Looks like we've got to look him up. You've got 8 minutes to write down as many things as you can learn about Daniel Boone. GO!"
8 minutes later
Guide: "Alright, was Daniel Boone a coach?"
Eagle 1: "No he was an early american foster man."
Eagle 3: "I think you mean frontier man"
Eagle 1: "Yeah"
Eagle 2: "He fought in the American Revolutionary War"
On and on it went as they listed off all the things they learned about Daniel Boone from their internet search. They corrected and questioned information that didn't seem accurate or contradicted information that someone else had and we ended up with a pretty well-rounded, accurate list of things that we now knew about Daniel Boone. They didn't find one of my favorite quotes "I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.", but they do have context for it now and would probably get a good chuckle from it now that they know who Daniel Boone was.
There are two things that I think are quite valuable about this game. The first and primary goal, as stated above, is to give students a chance to practice looking up information on their computers, which for many of them is a brand new skill. They get to share that information with others and see if their information is corroborated or contradicted. Second, and really more of a bi-product than a goal, is to learn about cultural and historical figures and phenomenons that they may encounter in books or conversations down the road. The entire reason culture exists is to provide avenues for people to interact with each other and find common ground. I look at the game as building their Alexandrian Library (historical reference intended) of context so they can better understand and relate to other people.