How to address violence in the news with your students.
Teachers will best use Legends of Learning as a supplemental curriculum, perhaps to reinforce new content or to review before quizzes or tests. The playlist tool is a useful option allowing you to choose games for your classes. You can also assign a simple assessment with questions you select, as well as include free playtime on the playlist. You can track your kids' progress through the games and see what questions they got incorrect. At this time, teachers can't create their own questions for the games. Teachers do have the option of selecting from existing questions.
Many of the games come with teacher reviews and discussion questions. The reviews can help you see how others used the game and how it was received by teachers and students. The discussion questions can give kids a more meaningful experience than just using the games alone. Teachers can also run reports to see how classes and individual students are performing or their usage.Continue reading Show less
Legends of Learning is a site that offers games covering a variety of science and math content for elementary and middle school. The site covers topics in each main content area, with a variety of games claiming to be aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The games here generally aren't meant to teach new content but to supplement your instruction; some games introduce content, but often only through text (which is often, but not always, read by the computer). Teachers can select games and assessments and add them to a playlist to assign to students. Assessments are limited to a bank of questions. When students start out, they create an avatar. Diverse options are available so that students will be able to create an avatar that looks like them if they choose.
The type and quality of the games vary widely. Some games come with colorful graphics and wacky characters, while some have music or robot voice-overs. Most games review content through a series of multiple-choice questions that pop up before you can make your next move; others are memory games, simulations, or interactive diagrams. Fill-in-the-blank questions are also available. Each game is labeled as Instructional or Question, but teachers will want to try each game first to be sure it's delivering what they expect. Most games aren't strong enough on their own to provide students with a lasting learning experience; teachers will need to wrap instruction around them. The creators have also integrated well-known PhET simulations into their gaming options, which are also freely available at the PhET Interactive Simulations website.
Teachers are bound to find something related to what they're teaching on Legends of Learning. All topics include several games each, allowing educators to choose the ones they like best. Many of the content questions seem to be repeated across games for the same topic, so kids may not experience new questions just by playing another game.
A recent addition to Legends of Learning is the Awakening game, meant to be played at home. Students receive cards that allow them to do certain actions (attacks, shields, etc.) after answering a question correctly. As students battle monsters, they can gain clothing for their avatar.
Overall, the quality of many games is underwhelming and not strongly related to the NGSS or Common Core practices. In most cases, the actual game has little application of the content, and the format is very repetitive: You play the game for a bit, pause to answer questions, then continue playing the game. The robot voice-over that reads in-game text on many games may irritate some students. When kids answer incorrectly, they receive no feedback other than the correct answer or a prompt to try again. Will elementary and middle schoolers like these games? Maybe they will, since it's more fun than doing a worksheet, but for deep and meaningful learning, look elsewhere.
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.
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).
Key Standards Supported
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.
Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.
Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
Gather and synthesize information about the technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms.
Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.
Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.
Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.
Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.
Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.
Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer.
Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.
Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells, either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.
Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively.
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.
Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.
Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories.
Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Develop and use a model to describe why structural changes to genes (mutations) located on chromosomes may affect proteins and may result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of the organism.
Develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.
Matter and Its Interactions
Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.
Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.
Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects.
Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.
Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
Use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy in a wave.
Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
Integrate qualitative scientific and technical information to support the claim that digitized signals are a more reliable way to encode and transmit information than analog signals.