Teacher Review For Plan It Green: The Big Switch

Great Concept but Confusing Game

Jessica L.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts, Social Studies
Digitial Citizenship and EdTech Mentor
My Rating 2
Learning Scores
Engagement 1
Pedagogy 3
Support 1
My Students Liked It No
My Students Learned No
I Would Recommend It No
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Further application
Knowledge gain
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
I used this game with my students as part of a unit on the environment and the relationship between humans and the the environment. This game has great potential-- it had a lot of information and opportunities for students to learn content. Unfortunately, most of my students (and I) became frustrated by the game. The interface is a bit confusing (how do I stop adding roads and go back to the main page) and hard to navigate. Though you could go full-screen, the bottom controls took up a lot of space and made it hard to see all your buildings. I couldn't tell if I was doing well and what I should be doing next. There probably was an incentive to pay attention to the greener options, but it wasn't obvious and I (and the students) focused mostly on making money out of our houses (and waiting for houses to be built). Furthermore, it had a lot of reading and there was a sense of urgency that encouraged me not to read the directions/hints. Most of my students just gave up playing it.
My Take
I really wanted to like this product. I like to use sims in my classroom with my students and was excited to come across a game that taught my students about eco-design and how to create a "greener" city. I was hoping that my students would be encouraged to watch the videos on different types of energy and other optional activities included in the game, but most just became frustrated with the game. In addition, it was confusing as a game and so the educational benefit was lost.