Have you ever wanted to design the perfect assignment? The kind that keeps all students engaged, uses materials and references from several classes, and mimics a game when it's really doing much more? This is your chance to own a version of that perfect assignment without having to spend all of the hours upon hours needed to create such a text.
While I never fully integrated this assignment as a collaborative assignment (because of the time involved), this is the assignment that can bridge the gap between several classes. It's a survival "game" that takes place in the Tibetan mountains. You automatically have social studies as an option. I also added in a few physics questions, along with biology or health class, but once you see how it's laid out, just use your imagination. While I used a camping guide book as a reference for some of the steps, you can certainly add from other disciplines. Or you can leave it mostly as is.
This is similar to my choose-your-own-adventure for The Moon is Down. It's like a video game without electronics. This version was originally conceived with only a theme in mind (man vs nature), and I taught it alongside "To Build a Fire," but there are other elements of survival and human nature, so I began using it along with Lord of the Flies. Really, though, you can use it with just about any theme, and you can easily customize the story to fit your classes.
And once you see how it works, you can get together with science, math, social studies, English and various other departments to create more adventures. If I was in charge, I'd just have one per year that all students do.. If you already integrate curriculum, this will help. If you don't, this will show you why / how you could. If you're never going to, this still provides a cool story lesson that works whether you're teaching a related thematic unit, physics, biology, or current events. I have the students search for Shangri-La and run across long-extinct animals, but you can add more realism without losing the fun. I only added one physical test, but a gym class could use this with ALL physical/teamwork tests.
You also have to remember that I did not pre-write the entire assignment with all possible outcomes. I also tried to bring students around to my already-written scenarios. And I wrote a few on the fly that never made it into the 40+ original pages of storyline. But that's all part of the fun. You can't imagine how much students appreciate the creativity that a teacher can exhibit for them in an activity like this. They asked about the adventure daily. They smiled when I read the parts. They had ideas. Don't pass up your chance to take your students on a classroom adventure.
If you want to see more collaborative teaching, try using this at an inservice to show other teachers what they could create together. I wish I could have had the help of other teachers when I created this assignment, but you can make that dream a reality for this and similar adventures for your students. I can recall being at meetings when math and science teachers would say they could never figure out a way to integrate with English and social studies. Show those teachers this adventure and you'll have a dozen word problems ready by the end of the meeting. And then everyone will see how it can be done and you'll save education.
Be sure that you change names. I personalized some elements, but also sometimes used #s to represent students. It's more fun for them if they hear their own names, but the numbers make it seem random, like poor #12 and #5 with broken bones. Also be aware that the poison in one branch of the story causes hallucinations, and the ending might be a little too much for the really young kids (don't worry, no one dies), so small adjustments are recommended depending on audience.