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Thursdays @ 9:00 - 10:30pm
Ages 11-14/Grades 6-8
Using the methodology of Edu-LARP (Educational Live Action Role Play), students will work together to save the world of Terra Firma from the evil darkness that is spreading across the land. It is only with the power of the Photonic Force with they be able to defeat the ultimate evil, Ignorance!
This is the first semester of a two semester class that covers Middle School Physical and Earth Science. This course complies with the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). The syllabus is structured using what is referred to as the “blended story-line” to also cover different topics and standards in Life Science, as well as Engineering Design NGSS.
Edu-LARP is when we use a story as a backdrop and game mechanics to create a fun and exciting joint story, learning all of the science as we journey throughout the adventure. The students are responsible for the outcome of the story by doing the homework and other projects, making an impact by bringing the "illumination" to the world. This particular game is a "D&D lite" game. However, the entire time we “play the game” the adventurers are learning about the Atom, the 4 Spheres of the World, Chemical Reactions, States of Matter, and Ecology to name just a few. A full list of topics for the semester is sent upon enrollment in the class. In fact, it is how well the Adventurers do on their homework, labs, and quizzes that earn the students experience points to help them level up and gain valuable weapons and armor. This will make them a true warrior of the Illumination and hopefully defeat Ignorance and his minions. All of these topics are integrated into the story to give greater meaning to the students. There will be different encounters and story elements that will bring up the topics of science to make their character grow. In the end the final project is an Adventurers Journal. This is an account of the Science and the Story from the point of view of their Adventurer. Each Student will present there favorite adventurers, what happened, and what was learned at the end of the course.
Here is an intro to the story we will be creating this year:
1000 Years ago, the Darkness had taken over the world of Terra Firma. The great overlord Ignorance ruled over the entire kingdom. However, in and amongst the chaos, three shining warriors, Dutch, Trinian, & Deslock (the sons of thunder) came out of the darkness and used the power of the photonic force to conjure the Illumination to fight back the Darkness and bring a millennia of peace. However, there have been reports of mysterious happenings and the Elders of Illumination have predicted that the Darkness has returned to destroy the four kingdoms of the Terra Firma’s Biosphere. You have been recruited to take on an incredible quest, to find the Son’s of Thunder and save us all. Create your Hero! Journey to the four kingdoms of the world! Save the world!
After 20 years of teaching and developing these Edu-LARP curriculums, I have discovered that this method of teaching helps the students remember the details and have meaningful attachment to the material. There are no “random facts to be tested on.” All the information and science topics taught are important for them to succeed at the game and help their Adventurer become a Hero. Thus, giving the Adventurer a vested interest in learning the material, doing the work, and making memories about the science that are integrated into the memorable story we create together. Think of it as a very long fable that is teaching the science in a very real and personal manner.
Each class will usually go over quizzes, homework, or labs that were assigned the week before. This is to earn experience points to help their Heroes become stronger. Then there will be new NPCs (Non-Player Characters) as their teacher/guide/mentor for the day to drive the story forward. This NPC can do a number of different things. First and foremost they teach elements of science to be covered that day. They might also have some challenges and puzzles to solve. They might also present new problems that are occurring in the story and ask for their help in solving the problem. There will also be "encounters" with strange creatures and the minions of Ignorance where they will have to use their powers of Illumination (the science they learned) to defeat them. Then the cadets need to adapt to the random story and write up solutions to the problems presented. They will then be given homework and lab assignments to complete over the week.