BBC science and nature games are educational and easily incorporated into classroom lessons. The scientific process requires children to observe, ask questions, make/test hypotheses and predictions, collect data and evaluate results. Games are an effective way to acquire such abilities. Many of the science and nature games at this site give children an opportunity to practice skills necessary to become science literate.
Several ways science and nature concepts can be taught using the games are as follows:
*Space Doctor will get students interested in learning more about space, planets, astronauts and nutrition. Come up with projects that require gathering facts, processing information and making decisions. For example, a student could plan a menu for the space crew. The student will need to know about spacecraft conditions, location and duration of the trip, dietary choices and what equipment if any should be packed.
*Solar System Jigsaw offers students multiple opportunities to practice ordering the planets. If planets are placed in the wrong space, the child just tries again. The concept of sequence is important not just in ordering planets but also in writing a story, following a recipe, or giving directions. Assign a How To’ writing piece to be demonstrated in front of the class to make sure no steps were left out.
*Tabloid Game is possibly advisable under teacher supervision as it shows a man smoking. Instructors could utilize this opportunity to stress the importance of knowing your source’. Students can produce newspapers in small groups. Have students provide a critique when newspapers are presented to the entire class. Are the statements supported with facts or opinions? Is the source reliable/reputable? Should the story be accepted? Is further research necessary to uncover the truth?
*Caveman encourages children to gather and process information. The concept that things change over time is easy for children to grasp when related to their own lives. Students can make personal timelines including birth, first bicycle ride, arrival of a new sibling, etc. Using supporting details, children can make predictions about the future. Encourage students to save the predictions and look at them when they are older.
*Survival Zone emphasizes the importance of being able to differentiate between friendly and dangerous animal behaviors in the wild. Knowing who to trust and who not to trust is crucial for children to understand. A lesson familiarizing students with their local community can help keep children safe.
*Skeleton Jigsaw shows a shadow of an animal with its bones. Paleontologists frequently find partial fossils and need to hypothesis how the bones fit together. Some remains look similar to animals that exist today. Did the creature evolve or is it an entirely different species? Students can explore animal adaptations and evolution.
*Senses Challenge presents the five senses through a series of questions. Children can keep track of what sense(s) was essential to answering each question. This game could lead into a research project. How do people compensate for lack of a sense? Do all creatures use senses in the same way? Which sense is the strongest or most useful?
This game has six categories organs, muscles, skeleton, senses, nervous system and puberty. Depending on the maturity level of the child, each of these categories may be useful in diagramming parts of the human body. Visuals help children better understand.
Using the BBC science and nature games for educational purposes is beneficial for various reasons.
*Children tend to be familiar with computers so the activity provides a risk-free learning environment.
*Games lead to discussions and sharing of information thereby increasing understanding.
*Students are able to work individually or in small groups.
*Children with disabilities like ADD/ADHD can work on a computer wearing headphones to minimize distractions.
*Immediate feedback is provided.
*Games are effective motivators for middle school and high school students reading below grade level.
*Pictures help English language learners grasp new concepts.
*Students work at their own pace.
*The topics covered will help students generate project ideas.
*Multiple disciplines are addressed making integrated unit plans possible.
*The games show how science is meaningful historically and currently.
Play and learn. Try out some of the games the BBC science and nature website has to offer (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/games/). The activities add a technology dimension to any lesson and are sure to be a student motivator.