Every year, I end classes with a game designed to assess student scaffolded knowledge. It’s a game I mash up using ideas from Hollywood Squares and Jeopardy with a touch of Survivor thrown in. Every year, I wish I could find something fresh but easy enough to use that I wouldn’t have to spend hours preparing and then teaching students. But I end up doing it in the time-consuming way I’ve done it every year.
I think I found the solution. It came out of the blue, a contact from the folks at Mind-n-Mettle, asking if I was interested in reviewing their website. The more I looked, the more excited I got. In a nutshell, Mind-n-Mettle is an interactive, quiz-show style game that can be played with individuals or groups on PCs and Mac. The teacher inputs questions, selects a few settings, and then students play.The game is still in the planning stages, but here are a few images that show the ease with which you can set up and play the game:
Teacher opening menu:
Set up game:
Set up questions:
Select who plays:
…and a sample of game play
This can be used the way I do–as a summative year-end assessment–or to find out what students know on a subject before starting a unit. It’s based on Alcove Resources‘ immensely-popular PowerPoint template by the same name. If you’ve used that, you know it’s a cut above most PowerPoint templates–complete with great graphics, motivating music, and lots of options to keep the game exciting. Here are a few screenshots:
What the question slide looks like
Just to be clear: I’m ahead of the curve on this one. There’s no product yet–merely a vision created by a teacher, a counselor and the all-important programmer who turns ideas into bits and bytes. Here’s what I know:
Mind-n-Mettle–intelligence and rigor–think under stress.
I like stress. It’s a term I often use with my students. ‘Stress’ gets a bad rap because most people think of its ugly cousins–stressful, hurtful, fearful. But Stress is a body function that helps us deliver our best under trying circumstances. So when I tell my students it’s OK to be stressed, I follow up with the corollary that it’s not a bad thing.
Games in general are an important option for the differentiated classroom. All students don’t learn the same way. Where traditional quizzes, tests, or the oft-used plays and posters may not work for kids outside the Bell curve, games often do (hence the increasing gamification of education). Besides, in real life, kids learn with all their senses. A well-devised game uses visual and auditory as powerful emotional learning motivators based in music, challenge, and teamwork. This particular game touches all of those.
The video starts with loud, invigorating, wild music. It made me want to pump my fist and and yell, Bring it on! Great start to an education game, isn’t it? Don’t take my word for it. Watch the video (below). The kids who have played it say the timer and music add to the intensity.
How do you play it?
The game will be a digital download for Windows or Mac, installed as typical software. A web and tablet version (iPad, Surface, Android) are in planning stages.
A teacher begins by choosing a name for the game and entering questions. Entering questions can be as easy as copy-pasting into the appropriate places. Questions? The creators will post ‘how to’ videos.
Game play can be customized. Any number of players or teams can participate, with an elimination round to build excitement. You can even have a non-competitive game, where play is collaborative–the class (or individual) simply works toward a goal. Students get multiple choice questions. If they don’t know the answer, they can get help–three different ways, but only three times throughout the game.
Points are awarded based on difficulty. Harder questions get more points.
What’s different from the PowerPoint Version
If you bought the PowerPoint version, you probably wonder if you should invest in this updated version. From what I’m told, there are additional features teachers will find useful.
- Answers will be shuffled randomly so students can’t recognize the order.
- Choosing the difficulty level will affect the length of the timer and the score value of the question.
- You can have more than ten questions in a game.
- Still in planning: New version may allow the use of images in questions and answers.
What’s included with the game
Game cards, software download, high quality graphics with intense sound and music
What makes it different from other game show approaches
Watch this–I’ll let you decide:
- summative assessment
- to find out what students know about a subject
- differentiate instruction, to accommodate different learning styles
This last–differentiation–is a primary reason the creators invented this game
“Interaction, visuals, sound and discussion reaches the children at so many different levels. I wanted to test and see how much the kids retained and one week after playing the game, I asked the kids what they remembered. I was shocked to hear that they remembered the questions, the order of the questions, the correct answers and many of the incorrect answers as well. Ones that I stumped them on, they remembered why the correct answers were correct and why the others were not….I can ask them even now (months later) and they remember.”
It’s still in concept–what do you do?
If this looks like a game you’d like to use, here’s what you can do:
- Pre-order by donating to the Kickstarter campaign here. That allows you to get it for half-price when it comes out in December. This campaign ends September 28th. If you arrive after that, you can still access the two options below.
- Sign up for their free newsletter here (in the right sidebar)
- Download the PowerPoint version here–for free. It installs from a zip file in moments.
More on gamifying education:
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of dozens of tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and a wide variety of technology training books that integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out next summer.