Welcome! We're back for another installment of Explore Like A Pirate! We've been learning all about game-based course design this summer (you can get a refresher here) and now it's time to take a closer look at Tools and Treasures.
In this chapter, Matera goes over a description of some of the badges and items his students can earn in his game, but says "ultimately, they won't work the same for another game or classroom. Badges and items are intimately tied to the game that is unique to the classroom." In other words, you're going to have to design your own.
In his class, Matera has two types of badges: leader badges and mini-badges. When students complete quests, they can earn leader badges (we'll talk in detail about quests next week). When he needs students to really focus on the lesson, he uses mini-badges tied to the day's activity to keep them on their toes. The badges have experience points tied to them as well.
Matera also has several items (pictures and descriptions on baseball cards) students can earn for various special powers. Some items are simply a locker pass while others allow for the use of notes on a test.
Whatever types of items or badges you decide to use, make sure it's tied to your game's theme. When I think of badges, I think of the ever popular brag tags. It's a simple way for you as the teacher to manage badges. They're super simple to make and keep track of. This is how I displayed our brag tags last year. (We call them pride tags in our class because bragging is considered rude, but being proud of yourself isn't.)
For items, I think of baseball or Pokemon cards. These can be made with a simple document, printed, and kept in a baseball card sleeve inside your students' binders. These can be as simple or as intricate as you'd like. I'll be teaching 3rd grade next year, so I'll be using a pretty simple setup.
I would think you could also use those fabulous mini-erasers to represent different items in your game as well. Students could keep them in a container that matched your game's theme. My only concern would be students taking them home or playing with them.
Do what works for your classroom and your students. You may find that using badges is just right for your students, but that items are too much for your class right now. Or vice versa. It's your game. Design it how you want. The whole point is to keep your students engaged in the content. The rest is details. And the beauty of game-based design is that you can change the rules or add things at any time!
I hope this was clear for you. There's a lot of ambiguity in this chapter because each game is different. If you want to see how Matera's badges and items are setup, you can read the book here. (It's free on Kindle Unlimited right now.)
Join us next week as we go into detail about these quests he keeps talking about. Trust me, you'll love it! Now check out what others have to say about chapter 8 below. Have a great day!