Game-based learning's collaborative nature can make SEL a natural fit

Finding that standardized test prep is more necessary than he originally thought, and setting out to help his students review material taught months earlier, Ohio 5th-grade science teacher Pete Barnes writes for Edutopia that he wanted to create a better way to help them engage.In what he calls a "Science Ninja Training Unit," he uses the movie “King Fu Panda” as a starting point, showing clips of the movie to students over two weeks and having them work through different exercises meant to be fun, such as a scavenger hunt. While they’re still reviewing for state tests, they're also more deeply embedding their learning.In some instances, students get to make more independent decisions over their work, some of which is hands-on and involves, for example, putting images of things from outer space in order of size. Other exercises are done with Barnes, with each student working on what they need to prepare. Games have proven to be an effective way to deliver information to students. The youngest of students can tap into game-based models even when academics are not the primary goal. Winning at the game hopscotch, after all, requires basic counting skills and numeric identification.

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