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Seasons of the Reaper - Game Based Learning

Throughout the years, one of my go-to endurance strategies, in the classroom has been incorporating my love of video games to the creation of some memorable learning experiences. Home Sweet Home is another case in point. I developed this high level (about 1-month) learning experience based on the phenomenal video game, Returnal, by Housemarque. This particular creation connects well with my podcast episode, "The Battle of You."

The experience itself focuses on a variety of Language Arts elements including:

-analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating story elements

-high level question stems

-text structure and analysis

-producing a speech to validate a thesis

That being said, the true beauty comes at the end with the student's culminating speech. For it is with this speech that the students dig in and connect to the allusions of this immensely deep game. If you think that the game is simply about shooting aliens, you're way off base.

Below are a couple of analysis questions/thoughts, along with the game play video and the student's correlating work.

Example 1 - Parasites

Question: What is a parasite? Can a parasite be something like non-tangible such as grief or guilt?

Example 2 - Symbolism

Question: What is symbolism? What may this random house in the middle of these hostile lands be trying to convey?

Example 3 - Connections to Greek Mythology

Question: Who was Phrike, in Greek mythology? What may this encounter be trying to share with the viewer regarding Selene's situation?

These are just a few examples of work the students completed, leading up to the final speech. Below is one of the students planning sheet, along with a couple speeches to showcase the final outcomes.

Example 4 - The Fall of Selene

Question: Explain thoroughly what has put Selene on this never ending cycle of despair and torment.

There is no doubt that this was quite the learning experience for my students. One that I know they not only enjoyed, but will remember for quite some time. Now, it's time to "return" (get the pun there?) and create my next video game/educational learning experience.


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