Apart from assessing what kids learn from free play with the game, teachers can use Beyond Earth within more traditional lessons and units in very specific ways to get kids thinking about a number of academic topics such as biology, economy, geography, government, history, and technology. Teachers can ask kids to observe and log aliens' behaviors, to keep explorers' journals of their exploits, or to experiment with specific play styles so that learners can see the impact of different philosophies on development, diplomacy, and the environment. If teachers can ask, "What can I pull from this game for my classroom?" they'll find Beyond Earth to be equal parts participatory narrative, macro-history, and science textbook.Continue reading Show less
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is a 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) strategy game for PCs, Macs, and Linux machines. In Beyond Earth, players assume the role of a civilization's leader on an alien planet. Players must help their people develop cities and strategies that help them achieve victory through distinct win conditions such as bringing old Earth citizens to their new home in the stars or by transcending humanity and becoming one with the alien planet's ecology. Wise decision-making is key as a player's choice of faction, construction projects, research, and strategy can provide stacking bonuses that help speed victory. New decision-making mechanics make Beyond Earth feel like an update of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri mashed up with sim upstart Endless Legend.
A single game of Beyond Earth lasts longer than any single class period, making it most useful for learning in targeted, episodic ways. For example, a teacher could ask two students to play in the local multi-player "hot seat" mode while pursuing two distinct strategies. Students could keep track of their decisions and the results of their decisions on the planet and in their societies, and then compare notes and develop hypotheses and conclusions about the relationships between human societies and the relationship between humanity and its environment. Because of the way the school day is structured, this game is perhaps best used as a station or extension for students who want to apply big ideas about governance and civilization in a compelling simulation with some framing from their teachers.
Key Standards Supported
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6–8 texts and topics.
Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to an understanding of the topic.
Analyze the author’s purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text.
Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text.
Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9–10 texts and topics.
Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).
Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.
Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text’s explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11–12 texts and topics.
Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.