Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
Heading west with a classic game
How I Use It
This was one of the first games I ever used in the classroom, way back when.
The graphics are greatly improved, but I was glad to see that the game had not changed much otherwise. It is still very compelling for kids, and they learn a good bit about the Oregon Trail without even realizing it.
Multiple difficulty levels make it accessible for kids of many grade levels and abilities.
I was, however, disappointed to see that the money given to players in the game was minimal; more can be purchased for real money online.
I'm certain that would be a temptation for many students, for whom winning is sometimes more important than learning.
Oregon Trail is an addictive adventure game based on the experience of travelling westward in a covered wagon. At the start of the trip, players choose a wagon and stock it with supplies.
Along they way they encounter hazards, ford rivers, hunt for food and trade with locals.
Travel too quickly and it takes a toll on travelers and the wagon, too slowly and you don't get through the mountains before the weather turns bad.
In addition to the realistic game play, the app provides lots of additional information about traveling the trail, assuming kids take the time to read it.