domingo, 28 de noviembre de 2010

Uses for Crayon Physics Deluxe Demo version.

I have commented on this before, but haven't put much detail on how I used it.

While Graham Stanley did a nice write up on the game here, in digital play, a great blog for those interested in game based learning ( ) , I thought I would add a few thoughts...

This game, with a free demo version here: , is an amazing resource for language learners. It is a low input - high output exercise, true task based learning, highly engaging, and great for collaborative learning.

A pure visual framework, it allows you to SEE how your students think and create real communication situations. It is an open and intuitive game where crayon drawings come to life, and operate with a 2 dimensional physics. The object is to make a ball touch a star... in the coolest way possible.

So, suggestions for usage in class settings:

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a. One crayon physics station/ (which can be an IWB, a wiiboard, or even a computer with a decent sized screen) per 10 student group

b. timekeeping device.

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Introduction game. (As students familiarize themselves with the game.)

Students get to draw three lines each and pass it on to the next person.
They explain what they are doing, while they do it, to the group.

-while this is not going to elicit a lot of language, and may not appear engaging, it will actually be quite effective, and is great present continuous practice for lower level students.
-variation 1: another student, or the rest of his team of 5 people, explains what the first student is -variation 2: another student, or the rest of his team tell the first student what to do.

Variant game 1 (as students become more familiar.)

Starting team tries to block team 2 from the star. They can draw one line each time.
Team discusses (in English, naturally...) their strategy for blocking, and take turns blocking.
Team two also descuss and alternate every turn... they have two lines every turn, and can use one of those lines to erase the move of the blocking team, while the blocking team can’t erase.
(Just as a note, the game is skewed in favour of the drawing team, who will always win if the game goes long enough.)

-variation: blocking team can’t use the same move twice, which will encourage more conversation as they look for new strategies.

Variant game 3. (as students become adept.)

Teams compete for the most elegant solution to the same puzzle.
They explain what they will do, and then proceed to do it.
Most elegant and original solution wins.
(here is an excellent opportunity to praise ambitious failure...)

Variant 4: Rube Goldberg machine.

A Rube Goldberg machine performs a very simple task in a very complex way. The point of this variation is to make the most complicated chain reaction possible. The best example of one that I can think of is Ok Go’s video here, ok go video, in itself a marvellous visual scaffolding for either conditional or present continuous language.

This is best given with time for the group to plan, with paper, on how to do their variation. They will spend most of their time working out their machine, and then set up the machine backwards... and then watch it (probably fail.)

Insist that it go through at least three “stages”. It is possible to have ropes or rocks that can be erased in real time to make different parts start.

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So, in summary, I think this is a great opportunity to apply game-based learning to the classroom with limited resources... there is no need for internet connection in class, and with three laptops it would be possible to serve a 30 student class. Notwithstanding... if there is a possiblity to have 3 projectors and make three wii whiteboards for that class it is well worth the effort to do so.

The teacher can gather interesting emergent language, encourage students, or correct those nasty workbook entries accumulating at their desk...