Let’s Play!

Want to add some excitement to your lessons?  Incorporate online games.

Identifying Genres

Library media specialist Dorothea Johnson created Name that Genre to help younger students learn to analyze a book’s  cover to determine its genre.

Using Call Numbers to Shelve

Order in the Library provides three library skills games:  Sorting, Shelving, and Reordering.  Although it looks elementary, the skills it introduces/reviews/reinforces can be adapted for middle and high school levels.  I plan to use the Reordering game with my service learners this fall as we introduce them to the concept of “reading the shelves”.


Students become more proficient information searchers when they understand the concept of keywords and tags.    Can You Guess the Tag presents several photos  and gives you thirty seconds to guess the tag they have in common.  Some of the tags are very simple to guess, while others will leave you wondering, “Huh?” when you are provided with the answer.

A similar game, Guess-the-Google, provides more images, but only gives you twenty seconds to make a guess.  I haven’t been as successful with it and have been frustrated when the time is up and the game doesn’t provide the correct keyword.

Choosing Resources

Carnegie Mellon Library offers two games in their Library Arcade.  When they play “I’ll Get It!” students will have to use critical thinking skills to determine the best resource to answer a question presented to them by a library patron.

What games have you found to use with your students?

Let the Games Begin: Online Science Games

CSI:  Web Adventures Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, this site teaches forensic skills and then lets you test your knowledge.

The Educators’ Guide provides several activities including matching handwriting samples, reconstructing document evidence from an embezzlement scandal, and  using bone length to determine a person’s height and identify crime scene victims.

One click of a button, and the entire site will be translated to Spanish, making it not only a great game for science, but also Spanish classes.

The History Channel’s Life After People Timeline Puzzle is based on the series. You must arrange a series of images on a timeline based on when they would occur once mankind no longer inhabits the planet. Clicking each image opens an informative video that should help you sort the images.

If you have not yet watched the series, this excerpt from the website might help:

“The Series begins in the moments after people disappear. As each day, month, and year passes, the fate of a particular environment, city or theme is disclosed. Special effects, combined with interviews from top experts in the fields of engineering, botany, biology, geology, and archeology provide an unforgettable visual journey through the ultimately hypothetical.” Life After People: The Series   (http://www.history.com/content/life_after_people/about-the-series)

Any other online science games you’d recommend for high school students?