Adding Games to Your Virtual Lesson Plans

3 min read

Lately, many teachers who generally teach in a physical classroom have found themselves having to create online lesson plans. Unfortunately, this can be difficult, both for teachers who have never created online lesson plans and for students, who are used to learning in a traditional classroom. To make your lessons more interesting for your students, you can add games to them.

When to Include Them

When deciding to include games as part of your curriculum, one of the first decisions you will want to make is when you want to include them. They can be used to introduce new material, to reinforce what your students are already learning, or as a reward.

Introduce a Topic

You can include a game to introduce a new topic, such as space exploration, plants, or bugs.  While the game may not actually help your students learn about the topic, it could be a fun way for your students to see what they are learning next.

Throughout the Lessons

Games can also be included throughout the curriculum. Maybe, you’ll decide to include a fun game between each assignment or at the end of a unit. These games can be more academic-based, or they can learn more towards simply having fun. Perhaps, you could even decide to have a game be your students’ homework one night. For example, you can have them each play the game at least three times and submit their scores to the leaderboard.

When using games as part of the curriculum, you can even create games that your students can play against each other. To encourage your students to play the two-player games, you could organize times that they can meet online to play against each other. You could also include the links to the games on a classroom page or in another location where your students have access to the information. Then they can decide when they want to play against a classmate. Students who have not left their house for a while will appreciate the chance to interact with their peers, even in only a virtual setting. Even if your students are not able to compete against each other head-to-head, they can submit their scores and gauge how well they are doing by looking at the leaderboards.

As a Reward

Games are fun, but often they are even more enjoyable when they are used as a reward.  Skills that can be demonstrated in your reward games may include problem-solving skills, reaction time, and critical thinking. This may include something such as getting through a level as quickly as they can or trying to discover how they can safely move their character from one place to another without encountering obstacles.

Reward games could become available after the completion of a specific assignment or after the student has completed a series of assignments. While you could have them automatically become available to your students once they have completed the required work, you may want to check your students’ work to ensure that they are completing it accurately before they get access to the games.

Making Them Enjoyable

Your students will enjoy the time you put into finding and creating online games for them. You will, though, want games that keep their interest. This can be achieved in a variety of ways:

  • Make them colorful and interesting. A game with limited colors is likely to look and feel boring. Include a variety of colors, shapes, and objects. If you are creating the game yourself, you may want to look at other games that your students like to play for ideas of what interests them.
  • Create a reason. While you do not have to create a huge storyline, it is important for your students to understand the point of the game. What do they hope to achieve? What do they need to do to achieve that goal?
  • Find balance. You don’t want to make the game so easy that your students get bored playing it right away, but you also don’t want to make it so challenging that they feel discouraged or give up right away.

Include a Test Drive or Two

If you are creating your own games for your classroom, one of the most important parts of your game is making sure that the directions are clear. Whenever possible, once you have completed a game for your classroom, have several friends or family members give the game a test drive with only the directions you plan to give your students. If no one has questions, the game is likely ready for your students to play. If any of your testers have trouble understanding how to play the game, you may need to adjust either the instructions or the game itself. You do not want to end up with a bunch of frustrated students.

Let Them Do the Designing

While young students may not be able to design their own games, slightly older students may enjoy the process of creating their own computer games. This can be an assignment in any STEM subject. If your students are unfamiliar with the process, you will want to help them through it. Create your own game, explain how you did it, and then encourage your students to create their own games. You can send them to this link to help them get started on creating their own games. They can use an already created template, and then integrate their own interests to create their own games.

One great thing about this activity is that once your students have created their own games, they can share them with family and friends. This is a great way for your students to have fun while also learning. Plus, it can be a great way for your students to stay connected to family and friends during a time when they may feel isolated from other people.

If you need help finding and creating games for your classes, be sure to visit withkoji.com. We have a variety of games and templates others have created as well as information to help you get started creating the right games for your students. Even after your students no longer have to take classes online, you may find yourself using these same games and activities to keep your students better engaged in the learning process.