Common Sense


10 Great Games for Middle School Students

Whether they're built for the classroom or are more focused on entertainment, there's learning to found in any game -- if you look closely enough. Everyday history, math, science, language, and tech skills come alive with these 10 great games for grades 6–8.  Use them to pique students' interest in a new topic, help them acquire new skills, or provide real-world context. 

If you're looking for ways to introduce game-based learning into your classroom, check out our Teaching Strategies for how to Find the Learning in Any Game.

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Spiraling sandbox of adventure and creation gets kids to dig deep

Bottom line: An irresistible and seemingly limitless incubator for 21st-century skills that, with a little guidance, can chart new courses for learning.

Twelve a Dozen - all access

Engrossing math platformer puts problem-solving skills to the test

Bottom line: This absorbing game challenges kids' math and thinking skills as much as it entertains.

Elegy for a Dead World

Compelling sci-fi world imagined -- and written -- by its players

Bottom line: With some teacher guidance, Elegy offers an opportunity unlike anything else to get students to write stories and stretch their creative muscles.


"Just one more turn" gameplay jazzes up geography

Bottom line: It's not a typical educational game, but students are inspired to explore the world and encouraged to think critically about what defines culture and geography.

World of Goo

Fun puzzler about building structures with unique materials

Bottom line: This game offers a dependable hook for getting kids interested in geometry and the elements of building structures.

Vital Signs

ELA game set in a medical clinic shows the value of literacy skills

Bottom line: Great ELA lessons that realistically integrate literacy skills into the simulated day-to-day of a medical clinic.

SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!

Truncated environmental city-planning sim geared toward classrooms

Bottom line: This version of the SimCity game still has something to offer, but it's probably not worth the subscription cost on its own.

Argument Wars

Courtroom sim covers ethics, the Constitution, and the art of argument

Bottom line: Social Studies and Civics teachers will find no argument with the game's value; it's a fun, free way to dig into major court cases with lots of extension opportunities.

Divide by Sheep

Extremely addictive puzzle game has dark, slightly gory play

Bottom line: A great game for math problem-solving, but be careful choosing your audience.

Human Resource Machine

Addictive, unique way to supplement coding instruction

Bottom line: A novel way to learn programming that will require student collaboration and extra adult support.

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