Are your high school students ready to become full-fledged geese yet? They are perilously close to leaving the nest, becoming adults, going off to college, and joining the workforce (Ahem - check out our openings at Goosechase!).
…and yet, they can sometimes seem just like silly little geese – all full of fun and possible mischief. As a high school teacher, how can you keep them focused and on track, so they will be able to meet their college and life goals? One of the best ways to help them acquire the skills and confidence they will need after graduation is through educational games.
Learning can be fun and engaging
“Research shows that using games in teaching can help increase student participation, foster social and emotional learning, and motivate students to take risks.”
Edutopia, The George Lucas Educational Foundation
One shock (shock!) to many college freshmen is that the professors don’t actually tell them where to look for the answers (imagine that, if you can). They become so accustomed to the typical high school classroom that they haven’t actually learned how to learn independently.
In a surprising number of high school classrooms (not yours, of course), students are still expected to learn through the traditional lecture, homework, test paradigm. While this may work for some students, others are left lost, unchallenged or bored.
Games, in contrast, bring an entirely new dimension to the traditional lesson plan and can actually help prepare students for college. They learn to overcome challenges, diversify their thinking, and seek answers independently or in collaboration with their peers. Many college learning experiences are heavily research-driven, but how can students rise to the challenge if they’ve just been given the questions throughout their high school career? Games can actually help them learn problem-solving skills, how to ask the right questions, and then provide them with perseverance as they search for answers.
Parents may be concerned that their children seem to be spending too much time on games. But, when used properly, games like Minecraft and Werewolf can actually help link educational content with friendly competition. Instead of isolating themselves in basements or bedrooms, students can actively use games to participate in collaborative, engaging learning experiences. During the pandemic, when there were weeks on end of virtual learning, games provided a much-needed outlet to keep students connected and motivated.
Other benefits that can be achieved by building lesson content around games include:
- Impactful games can be especially helpful in building subject knowledge with students who have difficulty focusing during a lecture/listening-based format.
- Fun games can improve attitudes about learning, and increase academic scores.
- Games promote curiosity, improve focus, and help players build grit and determination, as they search to solve a problem or uncover an answer.
- There is better retention of subject matter. Instead of just listening and taking notes, students become active learners. Content is more likely to stick because they are using more skill sets to achieve the end result.
How can I make my high school class fun?
In the classic movie, “To Sir, With Love,” the teacher played so forcefully by Sidney Poitier managed to make learning fun and meaningful for even the most challenging of high school classrooms. He brought real-world experience to students who seemed destined to go down the wrong path in life, and taught skills they would need to become adults. Here are some tips you can use to make teaching your high school class just as fun and rewarding:
- Add a little mystery (we all like to guess whodunit and why!).
- Mix it up – teach lessons in different ways, to appeal to all your students. Present class material Jeopardy-style: give them a concept and work backwards, asking them to come up with questions relevant to the topic.
- Use educational games to enhance student learning (again, Jeopardy is a great example of this! Five more fun ideas just a few scrolls ahead).
- Start giving your soon-to-be adults more choices about how they will learn. For example, give them 2 different books to choose to write a report on.
- Incorporate technology – they love it, and so can you.
- Give them opportunities to embrace their child-like qualities every so often with silliness and creativity – adulting will be hard enough.
- Get them involved – create interactive lessons where students participate, act out scenes, or explore on their own.
- Get real – relate the subject matter to skills they will need in college, at work, or in life.
- Think outside the academic box – maybe turn it upside down, or stand on it, or have students make a new kind of box!
5 Educational Games For High School Classrooms
Here are some games that can help high school students become more engaged in their education and build a range of useful life skills:
- Geoguessr: Make geography more than memorizing countries and capitals. Guide students as they use Google Maps to explore locations, see landscapes, and learn about the people and their environment.
- Words with Friends: This Scrabble-type game was all the rage a minute ago (now Wordle in all its iterations is hot), but it can still pack a powerful language punch for high school students. Two players compete against each other in a friendly competition to polish their language skills and claim bragging rights. Offer this as an activity to do outside of class for extra credit.
- Goosechase: Use Goosechase to build a custom game or access our library for some pretty fantastic teacher-created Experience templates, which you can adapt to your own needs. Get your students involved and engaged as they submit text, photo/video, and GPS check-in answers to questions you create based on your lesson plan. Just a couple of the High School Experiences you can find in the library:
Students travel around the Eastern Hemisphere and meet some absolute monarchs.
Best for: Students
Grade Level: 9-12
Get them exploring and learning math skills with lines, planes, and rays (no automobiles).
Best for: Students
Grade Level: 9-10
4. Giant Jenga: Want to take a break from screen time? Great for any subject. Buy a giant Jenga set (or have one built in tech class) and simply put questions on each block (use chalk so you can reuse your Jenga blocks). Students pull out a block and answer the questions, while trying to keep the tower from tumbling.
5. CELLS alive! Use interactive models, puzzles and games to teach high school science.
Educational games can be a serious support to help high school students gain knowledge and achieve success with skill-building and college preparation concepts. Check out our top picks above, and explore all the ways Goosechase can help you as a high school teacher find ways to make learning fun and engaging - for you and them!
What is Goosechase?
At Goosechase, experience is everything. Originally inspired by scavenger hunts, Goosechase is an online platform that enables organizations and schools to engage, activate, and educate their communities through delightful interactive experiences. Sign up and try creating a free recreational game, or contact us to learn more about our enterprise solutions!