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Thursdays @ 10:30am - 12:00pm
Ages 11-14/Grades 6-8
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Using the methodology of Edu-LARP (Educational Live Action Role Play), students will work together to save the human race as they create and populate their very own planet. This class covers Middle School Life Science based syllabus and 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 Earth & Space Science, as well as Physical Science/Chemistry 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 on their growing a developing planets. However, the entire time we “play the game” the cadets are learning about Ecology, Natural Selection, Matter Structure/Function, Energy and the Laws of Thermodynamics, to name just a few (please see list of NGSS and the overall syllabus at the end). In fact, it is how well the cadets do on the homework, labs, and quizzes that earn the kids certain benefits for their planets to grow, develop, and become the new home for humanity! We discuss the evolution from Atoms, to Chemicals, to Compounds, to unicellular organisms, and so on, until we reach a sentient being and society living in and intricate biomes on their planets. 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 planets flourish. In the end the final project is a brief history of your planet with both a visual and written portion. Then the vote to find our new home will begin!
Here is an intro to the story we will be creating this year:
They year is 3055. After decades of neglect and misuse of resources, the earth was on the verge of destruction. Humans decided to take to the stars and find other planets that we might make our new home. However, just as we were starting to have some success, an unknown, force known only as the Gammalons, bombarded the earth with their terrible planet bombs. With the need to save humanity accelerated, this group of cadets have volunteered to make “the jump” to Forward Base Epsilon, where they will each become a caretaker to a new primordial planet. The cadets have been chosen because they are the best, brightest, and most genius of our generation! They must develop their planet progress from its primordial stage, until it is filled with thriving biomes and with a dominate sentient species. We need you to be the savior of humanity!
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 bring their planet to life. Thus, giving the cadet 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 the quiz that will be sent out on Monday that covers the topics taught the week before. This is to earn points to help their planets become stronger. Then there will be a new NPC (Non-Player Character) as their teacher 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 "happenings" to their planets will happen almost every week. This is where the unexpected will happen thanks to a dice roll. Then the cadets need to adapt to the random happening and write a brief solution to the problem using the science they have already learned. Finally, they will then be given homework and lab assignments to complete over the week.