If you gave students the choice between doing their homework and playing a game, they’d obviously choose the latter. Children love games. They love play. They love competition and imagination and spending time with their friends. It’s more than fun—it’s human nature!
That’s why games are such a great way for students to learn. By taking something that isn’t a game (that not-so-exciting history lesson, for example) and turning it into one, you’re making learning engaging, motivating and even a little addictive.
But wait. Doesn’t gamification in the classroom require expensive technology and hours of planning? Nope. Although gamification these days does tend to lean more towards gizmos and gadgets, there’s no reason why you can’t bring it back to the basics. Actually, that’s a good reason why you should bring it back to the basics. Who says games have to be digital?
Case in point: Kites.
Kites are much more than a toy. Once used for military purposes, delivering messages and scientific research, kites have carved a new niche in the classroom. They’re an affordable, creative, inclusive gamification tool that your students will love. They can be used with your existing curriculum and they’re an idea you can use year after year with the same great results. And best of all, they’re FUN!
Here are a few ideas to get you started…
The Game: Who can let out their flying line the fastest without crashing their kite?
The Details: Everyone gets a fixed length of time to let their line out (usually between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, depending on the wind). Once the whistle is blown, give the kites a moment to stabilize, then have the students use their math skills to determine whose kite is the highest.
The Lesson: Trigonometry (to determine the kite’s altitude)
Source: National Kite Month
Highest Flying Angle
The Game: Who can fly their kite at the highest angle?
The Details: Students launch their kites together and fly them as high as they like (it’s a good idea to set a maximum height of 100 feet, for example). At the end of a set amount of time, the judges determine which kite is flying at the highest angle.Students can use a protractor to measure either the angle of the kite line at the flier’s hand, or by looking along the protractor toward the kite.
When the winners have been declared, start a discussion about how the different angles affect the way kites fly.
The Lesson: Math (protractor usage) and the science of flight (lift, drag, thrust, gravity).
Source: National Kite Month
Kites Around the World
The Game: Pin the kite to the map
The Details: Make a list of foreign-language words for “kite.” Then, assign a country to each student. They’ll research the country and its kite culture, and decorate their kite to represent what they’ve learned.
Students will then match up as many kites as possible to countries on a map (you can number the kites to make it easier). Who can get the most correct?
The Lesson: Geography
Source: Education World