I think the most fun I had when gamifying my year long math class was making the badges. After figuring out what System I was going to use and my Theme the next step is creating or finding Badges that correlate with the concepts expected for mastery. If you have not checked out my earlier blogs about “What System” to choose or how to pick a “Theme” for your gamified classroom, please check them out.
Once I settled on the Theme of my gamified class, I needed to incorporate some motivation for students. One of the easier motivational items you can include are badges. There are a couple of Badges I use to help motivate students in my game. In using the SBG ( Standards Based Grading) spreadsheet there are Big Badges and there are Mini Badges.
I use an SBG spreadsheet that I found and borrowed from Mr. Matera (covered in ” What System.”) He already had the spreadsheet all formatted and put together so all I needed to do was make and align the mini badges to the concepts. If you do not care what your mini badges look like, there are basic mini badges already created on the spreadsheet. I choose to create my own that align to the math concepts that are expected for mastery in each unit.
Using my “Skills by Unit” spreadsheet ( covered in “Theme)” I put together, I created mini badges that aligned to all the concepts expected for mastery in each unit for my year long math game. I created my mini badges by using the Google Drawing tool. I included an example of my mini badges on the side, to give you an example of what I am talking about. I kept them fairly simple, but at the same time just aligning them to the skill they are mastering increases motivation. Students can’t wait to see what the badges look like once they master the concept.
In my game students need to complete two out of a possible five Treks (assignments) to master out of a concept. Once they have demonstrated mastery and completed their two Treks they will receive a mini badge on the spreadsheet. The mini badge indicates they have mastered that concept and they may move ahead onto the next concept. If they have not completed both Treks in place of the mini badge it will say Complete 2 or Complete 1. As you see by my example of the Student Template, (below) you have the skill expected for master, mini badges showing they have completed both Treks for the skill, or saying Complete 1 because they still need to complete one more Trek to master that concept.
My Big Badges are where the Theme comes into the game. After students earn so many mini badges they level up. When they level up they receive a new Big Badge. Basically, each unit is a level. When they complete all their Treks and earn all their mini badges for the unit, they will level up and get their next Big Badge. Because my theme is “The Oregon Trail,” everytime they earn a new Big Badge it is the next stopping point along the Oregon Trail.
Again I created all my Big Badges uses Google Drawing tool. I linked information about the stopping point on the Big Badges. This way when students level up they can click on the link and learn about that stopping point. A great way to tie history into math class.
Once I knew I was going to use badges I had students help me create them. I helped them create the first couple badges so they were how I wanted them to look, but then had them create the rest of the badges. I gave the students bonus XP for helping create them or put it on the Treks as a side paths (extra assignments) if they were ahead in math for the unit.
This may not be the best or most efficient way to run a gamified classroom, but the engagement and and time on task has significantly increased using a gamified math class. One of the other aspects I love with running a gamified math class is it teaches the students how to be problem solvers. If they are working ahead or on problems we have not covered, they have to problem solve and figure out how to work it out. I created a math site with videos and other gamified aspects on it to help them along their journey as well called ” The Resource Wagon!”
In my future posts I plan to go more in depth on how I incorporate XP’s (experience points), GP (gold Pieces), Leveling up, Item Cards, The County Store and The Resource Wagon. Again I do not claim to be an expert on gamification, but I wanted to share my journey and how I run it in my room because of the success that I have had. If I can help at least one other educator I think it is worth it. Also please let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer it.
Lessons: Badges have been extremely motivating for students along with giving them a voice and choice in their learning.
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