This is a fun project for fourth and fifth grade that gamifies learning about scientists and science facts. It might be enjoyed at the middle school level as well. It is based on the Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Hearthstone, and Magic The Gathering collectable card games that are popular with children. Students who play these games will feel right at home with the game from the start. Students who have not played those games will learn quickly how to play and will have a great deal of fun as well.
The students create their own collectable cards in this project by researching Scientists and Science facts. There are specific rules for creating the cards which reward hard work. The more research and work the student does, the more powerful their deck becomes. The students use their cards to compete against each other at the end of the project. The rules of the game are created in such a way that they reflect the way modern science is done. The scenario for the game is science fiction.
1. Make learning the names and accomplishments of scientists throughout history fun.
2. Have the students experience the important process of peer review in modern Science in a symbolically representative game mechanic.
3. Emphasize the tremendous importance of specific verifiable predictions in establishing theory validity.
4. Students will learn about some Science popularizers
5. Students will pick up some extra science facts.
The project can easily last from two to four weeks. I recommend running a tournament at the end, complete with cool prizes. That is how I do it. As soon as a couple students finish their decks let them start practice battling until competition day arrives. I have noticed this will spur many of them to rush back to their desks over and over and over to create more and more cards to reoptimize their decks.
Before attempting to use these plans I recommend you learn how to play a few collectible card games. To learn and play Pokemon easily for free go to http://www.pokemontcg.com and download their software. To learn to play Magic The Gathering for free you can download the free app on both Android and Apple devices in Google Play or Apple's digital store. To play and learn Hearthstone, a completely digital collectible card game, for free on PC, Mac, or Apple devices go to http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/ or the Apple digital store. Once you have played a couple of free digital games of Pokemon you will easily understand how the project works. Playing a few games of the others as well will give you a solid understanding of how the whole game genre works. Be warned that these games are extremely fun and addicting...
Gamification is a great way to spur learning in your class!