Teacher Review For Build-a-lot

Building sim that requires students to manage resources.

Kim R.
Classroom teacher
ACYR Center Of Excellence
Phoenix, AZ
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Arts
EdTech Mentor
My Rating 2
Learning Scores
Engagement 4
Pedagogy 2
Support 2
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned No
I Would Recommend It No
Setup Time More than 15 minutes
Great for Practice
Small group
Great with General
How I Use It
I would not use this product in my teaching. There are many other free or cheaper games available that teach and support financial/business/economic classes in a more meaningful way. My classroom time and funds are very limited, so I want resources that truly support my students' learning as well as being enjoyable. This game can be fun, as the desire to meet the goals can make a player obsessive. But that is it. It is more of a fun game with some educational elements thrown in.
My Take
This game is almost addicting, as you try to meet the building, income, and net worth goals before you run out of time. However, there is not enough "meat" in the game to make it a lesson on its own or to justify buying a full classroom set of games. If this game were an app and available for less than $2.00, it might work well as a supplementary game that students would be allowed to play in their free time. This game is more about the fun and less about learning. There are elements of learning because students must try and meet the goals within the set period of time, managing the resources they have available to them (money, land, material, existing homes), but not enough to say, “This is a very educational game!” If used in the classroom, the game is best for the average learner. The advanced 7-12 grade learner would likely become quickly bored with the game or move through it too quickly. Most 11-12 grade students will also find it below their interest level. Students who have special needs, are ELL, or have lower literacy levels would do best partnered with another student that is patient and will take the time to explain the goals to their partner. Overall, I would not recommend this unless you just have some money that you must spend on games for students to play in class. There are other better options available that are lost costly and provide more educational value. Just a note on the install. This program tries to get you to download a game toolbar and to make Yahoo! your default search engine. I told it no on all, yet when I went to uninstall the game, I still found the game tool bar hidden in my program folders and I had to remove it manually.