Teacher Review For Spore

Designing Creatures and Features to Explore Evolution

Catherine B.
Classroom teacher
Copper Mesa Elementary (Highlands Ranch, CO)
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My Grades 4
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
EdTech Mentor
My Rating 4
Learning Scores
Engagement 4
Pedagogy 3
Support 3
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Creation
Small group
Student-driven work
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
Spore is a fun game where kids are able to create their own creatures with a variety of different features that may (or in some cases, may not) help the creature adapt and evolve in the Spore world. It is an open-ended game, which the kids enjoy. They spend more time collaborating with each other about how to build and evolve the coolest creature and not on competing against each other. We tried out this game during our study of animals and how different features help an animal survive in their habitat, and while the kids (3rd grade) definitely enjoyed it, I'm not sure they made the generalizations I was hoping they'd make.
My Take
For my third graders, this is just a fun game for creature design, thought I understand that it is often used in a more education way with high schoolers, particularly in teaching evolutionary theory, even if the game creators do take quite a few liberties with the actual science of it all. My students enjoyed experimenting with some of the different creature features and it encouraged some great conversations about why different features might be advantageous for survival. For students in upper elementary and middle school, there is not a whole lot of education value to the game, though it does seem to encourage cooperation and communication when students play together on it. I think the education payoff may be more evident for older students.