Teacher Review for Mission US: Flight to Freedom

Students learn about the realities of slavery during the Antebellum Period through engaging and age-appropriate simulation game play.

Elizabeth E.
Classroom teacher
Isidore Newman School
New Orleans, United States
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My Subjects Social Studies
My Rating
Learning Scores
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Great with Advanced learners
Special needs
How I Use It
For the past two years, I have used the game as a supplement to my unit on the Antebellum Era. In class, students have completed a couple of the game resources, while I've assigned the various parts of the game for homework. This has worked well, but I have become such a believer in this game that I have decided to design my entire unit around this game next year. I will transition to what the game designers refer to as a "high level of integration," using the teacher resources and student activities as the basis of my lesson plans for about two weeks of the school year. The game log and the review questions for each part of the game will serve as the students' proof of game play and will allow me to gauge their understanding of the historical concepts from various parts of the game. The document-based activities will be the primary in-class teaching tools, and I plan to work with the sixth grade English teacher to integrate the vocabulary and writing prompts. To teachers who are new to Mission US, I would suggest starting with a low level of integration (have your students play the game partially in class and partially at home to supplement your classroom instruction) and slowly graduate to a higher level of integration if you see that the game benefits your students as it has mine.
My Take
My sixth grade students love playing on the computers, but they see right through most "educational games" and lose interest quickly. This is not the case with Mission US, though. Like the first installment, "For Crown or Colony," "Mission 2: Flight to Freedom" is challenging, realistic, engaging, and historically accurate. Unlike some historical video games, "Flight to Freedom" is sophisticated enough to compete with the "non-educational" games that my students enjoy outside of school, yet age-appropriate for early middle school-aged kids. The bonus with all of the Mission US games is that the teacher resources are exceptionally well-curated and thoughtfully designed with both the educator and the students in mind. The creators of the game suggest three possible levels of integration -- low, medium, and high -- and provide possible models of instruction. There are multiple resources that accompany each of the six parts of the game that teachers can choose from, depending on how they want to integrate the game into their classroom and the age of their students. I find the document-based activities particularly useful and easy to adapt for my own classroom. "Mission 2: Flight to Freedom" gets two thumbs up from both my students and me.