SimCity: Loosening the grip by trusting

SimCity: Loosening the grip by trusting

November 21, 2013|Posted in: Authentic Writing, Project Based Learning, Reading, SimCityEDU, Writing

Today marked the end of the beginning with our SimCities. Students finished the first steps (road layout, planned zoning and desired power plant). They loved every step so far. Now that they have basically got the foundations ready, they spent today working on prioritizing the city services to add next.

We shared out the decisions as groups to the class and gave a reason why that is the next most important step. We all agreed that a water tower seems to be the most needed since every house and business is now asking for it. It was a really cool connection we made to our reading vocabulary word of “necessities”. Water is a necessity for living organisms and our SimCitizens are no different. The next building priority on the list is where things got interesting.

  1. police station (2 groups)
  2. health clinics (2 groups)
  3. sewage facility (1 groups)
  4. garbage dump (1 groups)
  5. fire station (1 groups)
  6. grade school (2 groups)

They were so thoughtful with their reasoning when they presented their decisions. “We think it’s important to have a grade school, so people who work in our industrial zones become more educated.” My smile could not be contained, this is what I want them to learn. This is cause and effect at it’s best. Everything within this game is connected and if thoughtfully planned, our cities will thrive.

The next step is one full of trust. Students will now have multiple work sessions where they will use a more open designed lesson and lab sheet. They have many things to add to their cities but it will take time, so while funds build up, they will begin listening to citizen complaints and concerns and adjusting their plans. The worksheet that I created will act as a guide and a record of their work. They have shown that I can trust them so far, it’s time to loosen the grip on their building a little more.

One thing I did hold back from them, is placing their Town Hall. That will be the next group assignment that will require a bit of research which will then become an essay.