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Stop Disasters

What it is: Stop Disasters is a collection of disaster simulation games created by the ISDR (International Strategy for Disaster Reduction).  As students play the games, they learn about natural disasters and actions that people can take to help protect themselves and others.  The student’s job is to plan and construct a safer environment for their population. Students must assess the disaster risk and try to limit damage when natural disasters strike.  Some advice that students are given within the game will be good and some of it will be bad, it is up to them to discern which is which.  Students can choose from 5 different scenarios, Tsunami, Earthquake, Hurricane, Wild Fire, and Flood.  Each scenario has 3 levels: easy, medium, and hard.  When students enter the simulation, they are greeted by a local who briefs them on the situation.  Students are given a budget and time limit to complete the necessary precautions.  After 20 min., the natural disaster occurs and tests their solutions.  Students develop the land and learn about their choices each step of the way.  During the game students can keep track of their budget, the population they are working to keep safe, a map and risk management map, and their remaining time.  The game is very engaging, it reminds me of the SIM City games that I played as a kid.  This game will put those critical thinking muscles to the test! How to integrate Stop Disasters into the classroom: Stop Disasters is an excellent game for teaching students about natural disasters through an engaging simulated environment.  It is up to each student to create solutions for their environment before the natural disaster occurs.  Students get immediate feedback during each development period and get to test their work when the natural disaster strikes.  This game is best played in a computer lab setting where each student has the opportunity to interact with the simulation individually.  A simulation game takes about 20-30 minutes to complete so make sure that your students have ample time to complete the game.  After students complete the simulation, bring them back together as a class and discuss choices that were made, why those choices were made, and what outcomes students observed.  Students can also write a reflection piece on what they might do differently next time.  Stop Disasters has quite a bit of reading embedded in game play, it is best for 4th-5th grade students and older.  If you are teaching younger students who won’t be able to read the site independently (or you don’t have access to a computer lab) the simulation can be run as a whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer. I found Stop Disasters while working on a unit in our Treasures curriculum that had the theme of natural disasters.  As an extension activity, students can create public service announcements about safety using a tool like Animoto or create safety posters for their population. Tips: Students can learn more about the ISDR on this site, when we are talking disasters with kids, it is always nice to have a place where they can learn about organizations that are working to help keep them safe.  This makes the topic less stressful and overwhelming for students. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Stop Disasters in your classroom.

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World Education Games: Registration Now Open!

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Foreign Language, Geography, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 01-02-2013

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What it is:   Holy cow, I am SO excited!  Today registration is open for World Education Games!!  If your students have never participated with World Education Games (like World Math Day), this is the year.  They will thank you for including them in this fun world wide contest.  February 1st, that’s today, registration is open and the official warm-up training period for students begins.  On March 5h students can participate in World Literacy Day, March 6 is World Math Day, and March 7 is World Science Day.  March 22nd Global award presentations begin with the Official World Education Games Awards.  The World Education Games is an annual global online olympics to get students from age 4 to 18 excited about learning.  The fun comes in the friendly competition between countries as students compete to represent their country in the games.  There are 3 days of games focused on literacy, math and science.  The games are a great way to help students in speed, accuracy and general fluency in core computation, number and spelling skills.  World Science Day has been designed to encourage curiosity and excitement in science while helping them answer knowledge, application and reasoning questions.  Each game (a competition against other students from around the world) lasts just 1 minute.  Students can go head to head as often as they would like, but only the first 50 games are counted toward the competition point tally.  World Math Day was launched in 2007 and my students have taken part in this fun competition each year.  Since then, Literacy and Science day has been added to the games.  SO much fun!

How to integrate World Education Games into the classroom: World Education Games are such a fantastic way to encourage students to practice foundational skills.  In the past, I have hosted an “opening ceremonies” at my school and done it up like the Olympics with flags, songs, etc.  We go over what the World Education Games are and then make a big deal about the handing out of usernames/passwords (like lighting the torch) and then we kick off our training portion.  Students get excited about participating in this fun day and we get lots of “training” in before the big day.  On the actual day, we wear red, white and blue and play against kids from around the world.  This is great fun in a one-to-one setting or a computer lab where all students can participate simultaneously.  Don’t have that option?  Because the games are 1 minute long, students can play 5 games each on classroom computers in a rotation.

Since your students are competing against students from around the world, why not use the competition to practice using a map and identifying countries?  Since we have a one to one iPad program, we do this digitally with a Google Map.  Each time a student competed against a country, they would come up to the board and put a “pin” in the map.  Don’t have devices for each student? Use an interactive whiteboard or the paper map and actual pins on a class bulletin board, these options are just as fun!

Don’t forget closing ceremonies at the end of World Education Games.  Make up fun medals and give them out to top performers, hardest trainers, etc.  Think outside the box on these.  Not all kids are speedy in their fact recall…find a way to honor their participation and hard work…did they see huge improvement or growth? Honor those achievements!

The World Education Games are available for free on any internet-connected computer and as a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10 app.

Check out the Resource page for teacher and student guide, a world map, a poster, and for School-in-a-box information.

Tips: Schools participating in the World Education Games can also work toward giving other children the opportunity to start school.  World Education Games has partnered with UNICEF to make this happen.  During the games, host a fundraiser to purchase “School-in-a-Box” Each $236 donation is enough to send 80 kids to school!  What a great way to help kids understand what a privilege education is and model compassion and empathy for others.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using World Education Games in your classroom.

Comments (1)

We love the World Education Games. One of the most exciting parts for the students is getting to play against other people around the world. I love the fact that the training seems to help them build skills quickly. I assign it as our homework and it becomes a rotation in the room for when kids finish work quickly. We do a Math-a-thon on World Math Day. It usually falls on our Early Release Day so we stay after school and allow the kids to keep on playing. We provide snacks and play motivational music. This way we can ensure students who might not have technology at home can complete the challenge. We also celebrate with awards for our students and recognize them at our school assembly. So far, it has been mostly our 4th and 5th graders competing, but this year I am trying to get everyone else on board.

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