Game that makes an abstract concept more concrete with a side of empathy.
This is another great game option from Games for Change. It works both on a computer and on a mobile device. The graphics are minimalist icons, but the message is strong. The students have to be able to read each prompt. The amount of reading means it does not work well for low literacy or ELL students. The game connects to social media if the students click on the Facebook or Twitter buttons. In their mind they are just part of the game, but it does violate the AUP by trying to access those social media websites on the school network. There have been times we have used the game and it has frozen on a day. The only way to solve the problem is to refresh the page, which restarts the entire game.
How I Use It
This is a follow up activity I use with students when we get to our chapter on spatial inequality, which is an extremely difficult topic for 6th graders to relate to. With the game, they are able to see what life decisions would be like for someone who does not have enough money having to live paycheck to paycheck. It goes into the specifics about different costs associated with living independently, from healthcare to renting an apartment to maintaining a vehicle. They also are faced with the opportunity costs and rewards for activities, like being with friends or helping neighbors. The students see the serious game as a competitive game, but it does foster empathy. While the majority of our students are middle class, there is a growing sector that is faced with a spent life.