Angry Birds, Excited Students

Angry Birds, Excited Students

As a teacher, I used a lot of games in the classroom. However, it wasn’t until I left the classroom that I realized the untapped potential of existing games in transforming the educational landscape.

Most people are starting to come to terms with the effectiveness of games in teaching. However, educators often overlook popular titles in favor of “educational games.” Though these educational games are certainly a step up from textbooks, they often fail to create a truly captivating experience.

Thus, the dilemma. Educators know that games can engage students, but even the best educational games out there can’t compare to Angry Birds and Call of Duty. Oh dear, what to do?

The answer is closer than you think. In fact, it’s staring you in the face. Instead of trying to create educational games like Angry Birds, why not just use Angry Birds itself?

Every game has the potential to be a powerful educational tool. Don’t believe me? Here are some examples:

Fruit Ninja: Line Graphs
Have students use line graphs to determine the value of different combos in the game.

Angry Birds: Perspective
Have students think about the conflict between the birds and the pigs from the pigs’ perspective.

Paper Toss: Wind Speed
Have students analyze the trajectory of the ball and build an apparatus to measure wind speed.

Doodle Jump: Ratios and Scale
Have students put themselves in the game by measuring jump height and designing a level to scale.

Canabalt: Parallax Effect
Have students analyze the parallax effect in the background of the game, the principles of which are used by astronomers to measure far away stars.

I’ve created full length lessons out of each of these concepts, and in the coming weeks, I will start to create an online hub to share these lessons and other ideas. If you’re interested, please read more about my big idea here.

And if you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know!