Using Strategy Games (FTL) to Teach Science

I have to admit that the topic of copyright did not grab my attention in the least.  I dragged myself through most of the readings before acknowledging that it just isn’t something I’m going to really care much about, or attempt to write much about.  I have used compfight and johnjohnston for years, and my course Moodle pages are closed to anyone outside of my courses–so I feel like I don’t really actually interact with copyright very often.  That being said, this post attempts to use fair use image, as well as images bearing the creative commons license, with adequate credit given.

Photo Credit: Tom Lawrence via Compfight cc Gaming is a new type of social interaction

Photo Credit: Tom Lawrence via Compfight cc
Gaming is a new type of social interaction

So onto something I really, really enjoy: Games.  My students, particularly my male students, are also incredibly engaged with gaming–and I hope that I will be able to leverage their passion for gaming to help them understand science.  At this point, it’s a far stretch, and it may do nothing more than improve rapport–you should see the excitement on a 9th grader’s face when his teacher can actually comiserate about losing to the 3rd level boss.

I like all kinds of games–especially complex games that bring in elements of history, science,  living systems or outer space.   I tend to enjoy resource management games, where there is no ‘magic bullet’ strategy, and a player must keep resorting to Plan B (and C….and….).   Board games such as Agricola, San Jose, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers of Cataan. Card games such as Magic The Gathering, Killer Bunnies, and

Photo Credit: magoexperto via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: magoexperto via Compfight cc Complex strategies, cost-benefit analysis, options-thinking: It’s all part of gaming!

Munchkin. And most recently, computer games such as FTL (“Faster Than Light”), Spore, Portal, Kerbal Space Program and The Talos Principal.  Some of my most impressive students are clearly way, way into games, and some of the pre-existing knowledge they come to class with was clearly learned from gaming.

In an attempt to narrow the focus of this post, I’ll stick to my most recent obsession:FTL. Faster Than Light is one of those games that seems sort of silly on the surface–the sort of plot that a very small percentage of the population would enjoy. Your usual geek-fest of saving the galaxy from

FTL is available on iPad, or through the Steam game engine on PC or Mac.  Author's photo.

FTL is available on iPad, or through the Steam game engine on PC or Mac. Author’s photo.

rebels.  The plot is certainly not the selling point.

But lying under the surface of it’s semi-retro graphics lies some seriously impressive complexity. I am really glad there is no way to track how many hours I have spent playing this game (I now have it on both iPad and laptop….), but lets just say it is probably more hours than I would publicly post!

 

Mastering this

Image author's own.  FTL demands dozens of decisions per minute.

Image author’s own. FTL demands dozens of decisions per minute.

game requires an enormous amount of time, but I honestly believe it is a very rich and cognitively challenging experience, and it is fun right from the first minute.

I am interested in how I can use games to teach science–in particular, chemistry. The more I play this game, the more concepts I can seeconnecting.


I would like to try introducing the examples above, and then ask students if they can find other examples of  analogies between a situation or a function in a game, and a concept of chemistry.  The most obvious problem with this plan is that, while some students are rabid gamers, the majority of students probably don’t really care much about this kind of game, and certainly aren’t familiar enough with the game to really zoom out and see the ‘meta-concepts’ that start to become clear after (too much) time.  If nothing else, I believe this experience has strengthened my belief that gaming can be a productive way to stretch your brain, interact with others in unique ways, and grasp abstract concepts in a different context than ‘real life’.

 

14 Responses

  1. Interesting thoughts, Ryan. I’ve never played this myself, but you offer a convincing review! I just picked up the book, “Ready Player One” this week. Have you read that?

    We’ll be delving much deeper into Gamification in Course 4 so that’ll be right up your alley!

  2. Great, this is what I was searching for in yahoo

  3. Here I am content to read this pole and I want to share this pole with others soon since it is really astonishing. And also this website has a lot of educational paraphernalia so students like me must learn after here.

  4. Completing your nursing assignment is a tough task for the students in the UK. Thus the academic experts at StudentsAssignmentHelp.com present its Nursing Assignment Help UK services to all the students at a low price. Our writers hold great experience of finishing your work well.

  5. If you are using strategy games (FTL) to teach science entry box which would show the game title and everything then really no one is going. The simple fact is that it would be giving credit to the people who did the (FTL) game as well, and uploading it like that is not going to be any attempt to profit from their play.

  6. Hey guys,This is the simplest method where you get all programs windows 10 online.

  7. This is a very amazing post by the writer of this article.

  8. We guarantee that your Custom essay writing service will not only be delivered on time but will also be of the highest quality. Get the assignment help services Online today!

  9. Great post! I appreciate you for the effort you take to share your knowledge with people. I can find many things that are still unaware. Thanks for you time and knowledge. Great article I must confess!!!
    Best Watch Hindi movies online in 2019,
    Best Dolphin Emulator GameCube ROMS.

  10. Thank you for posting such a great article. It contains wonderful and helpful posts. keep it up good work. Facing trouble in your assignment? Facing trouble in your assignment? Relax Team Make My Assignment is just a click away! Hurry up and register now.

  11. Great Article, its really informative and innovative keep us posted with new updates. Scared of your final grades? Don’t know how to complete your work at the last moment? Well, give all your worries to our experts. And they’ll be more than happy to assist you! Place an order with us today!

  12. Nice article! You’ve shared very useful information. You really did an awesome job. Thank you so much.

  13. Great post! I appreciate you for the effort you take to share your knowledge with people. Get Custom Assignment Help at Affordable Prices.

  14. Such a nice blog post on this topic. We have a team of excellent assignment expert who is Ph.D. certified and has years of experience in providing high-quality Assignment Help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *