SimcityEDU: Prepping for the project
Last summer, I was asked to be a part of the SimCityEDU Teacher Advisory Committee. The task was to write lesson plans of ways to integrate the highly involved SimCity (2013) into a 4th grade classroom, using the Common Core and Next Generation Science standards as the foundation. I have played SimCity since it’s first version long, long ago…and I have always thought that it would be an amazing program to use in the classroom.
So, over the last few months I have put hours into exploring the latest version of SimCity and I still feel like I am just scratching the surface. I wrote a couple lesson plans, but they seemed to fall flat compared to the game. I kept running into this barrier over and over. How can I help students navigate, while at the same time not stiffling the instant creativity and problem solving that SimCity inherently nutures. I want student to explore, but at the same time, they need to have objectives and learning goals so that it’s not just a game time for them.
After much thinking, I came up with a framework for this year’s project. The SimCity Project Folder. I spent time creating modules that can easily be added into this binder which teams will keep their work, notes, and project updates within. The modules will be focused assignments that get the teams’ cities off the ground. They range from city road and zoning design, energy selection, and civil service priorities. Once the cities are up and running, students will have addition record sheets that they can keep track of citizen concerns, statistics for their city, and accomplishments of the day. This record sheet will allow students to have more freedom when assigned modules are complete. This freedom is where SimCity flourishes because there is such a depth of information and problem solving once a city really takes off.
To get started, we need to have each city assigned a city council. The city council of five students will oversee the building of their city and each have a specific role.