After planning possible 6th grade activities, I put them into the 3D GameLab (3DGL) interface ready for kids to Beta test in the fall. So far I have 73 quests in several different chains with room for some student choice. The benefit of having no grades is that kids can really pick and choose what they do and don’t do because there’s no fear of failure. Rather, failure is okay with no long lasting effects such as lower GPA or lower grade. If you don’t finish something or don’t get to it, you just don’t learn about it! I think that’s consequence enough. And besides, maybe they didn’t get to one activity or quest because they were really enjoying and going deeply into another one. That’s perfectly fine in my book. What I still have to do is add some cool activities that are unlocked as students level up or get new badges. Just like in a video game as you level up you get skills and gear that makes you even better than you were before. I know that was highly motivating for me.
It took a lot of work getting all the quests setup and all the badges and achievements. So as soon as I got 6th grade pretty close to done I started working on 8th grade. With both 6th and 8th I started with what I’ve been doing over the past few years. Things change from year to year depending on the group of kids but the main topics, activities and labs are pretty much the same because that’s what I have to work with. Eighth graders at our school learn Life Science after having learned Earth Science in 7th grade.
Here’s the year for 8th grade laid out in the 3DGL spreadsheet (notice the sheet for Rewards and Ranks to see the badges and levels, oh and here’s a link in case you want to see it on its own webpage):
And here’s a more visual layout using Popplet (I like Popplet, it’s so easy):
Now I have to put those into 3DGL to gamify the course. It’s a lot of work but I’m expecting a huge payback in the form of excellent student engagement and learning this coming school year!