Gaming Challenge: The Lure of the Labyrinth

Lure of the Labyrinth

I’m weighing the possibilities of having my sixth grade students join in a new gaming challenge called The Lure of the Labyrinth, which is an online math-based video game challenge that I learned about from an email newsletter from Fablevision. The gaming challenge for middle school students runs through June 15 and is described this way:

(The Lure of the Labyrinth is a) collaboration between FableVision Studios, the Education Arcade at MIT, and Maryland Public Television, Lure of the Labyrinth is a compelling online game that requires students to use mathematical thinking skills. The challenge invites groups of students to work together in a teacher-moderated environment.

And, as for what the game itself is:

Lure of the Labyrinth is a web-based game where middle-school students are immersed in a compelling storyline in which an underground monster-inhabited world comes to life. Players plunge into a shadowy factory on a mission to rescue their missing pet using mathematical thinking skills to progress through the graphic-novel story.

In the Challenge, Labyrinth is played in teams of 4 – 6 students, and was designed to give all students a chance to learn and succeed. A safe, educator-moderated game-embedded communication device allows players on the same team to exchange ideas and game strategies, and encourages collaborative game play.

Lure of the Labyrinth is intertwined with standards-based curriculum designed to improve math and literacy. Sections of the game correspond to typical pre-algebra curricula: fractions, proportions, ratios, variables and equations, and number and operations. Within each section, there are puzzles at multiple levels that the students must solve as they move forward in the game.

It appears to use a graphic novel story interface to move the student along into challenge areas (which reminds me a lot of Gamestar Mechanic).

I’m intrigued by the math concept of problem solving and am wondering if some sort of collaboration between myself and my math teacher (similar to what I did with my science teacher) might make sense. All this might have to happen after our next round of state testing. Our math assessment comes in about two weeks. But I can also imagine the pockets of students who would just jump at the chance to do this kind of complex, puzzle gaming competition (there are some prizes, which can be a motivator for some students).

I do like that there are teacher guides and connections to national learning standards and lesson plans and even a handout about the classroom teacher’s role in the whole adventure. I wonder about the collaborative element of the project (and how I might set up collaboration across all four of the classes I teach somehow … interesting).

What do you think?

Peace (in the game),
Kevin

 

 

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