SimCity: Updates and Figurin’
Last week, I introduced the idea of using SimCity as a learning program with my class. To say they are excited about this opportunity would be an understatement. When I finally released them to work with their groups, the room was abuzz with collaboration and authentic team work. They want their city to succeed, and they will need each other to make that happen.
I began with an exploration lesson on how cities are laid out and planned. It my lesson called Location, Location, Location on the SimCityEDU lesson plan site. We used Google Maps, and zipped around Gresham, Oregon looking at residential and commercial planning, and we found the industrial zoned areas that are typically built away from the other two zones. The students instantly began inferring why this was the case.
With their lab sheet in hand, they each began to layout their roads and how they would situate each of the three types of zones. Then they would bring those ideas to the group and create their final version that would be used as a guide when they got time on the computer. Again, 30 students…one computer with SimCity on it.
They really in the limiting factor here. Only one usable computer that will run SimCity, and ten groups of 3. Using the paper assignments allows a throttle on who is ready to use the simulation program. So I have begun scheduling times for groups to use the computer. It looks like teams will get 2-3 times per week to work on their cities. I am looking for additional computers to increase this time.
One thing to keep in mind… be sure to pause the game after the students work on their roads and zones. This will limit the number of complaints that come in while you wait to do the Power Plant and Water assignments next. Right now we have a lot of very unhappy citizens who are demanding power for their new cities, needless to say the students can’t wait to do the next piece of the assignment!