It has been almost three months since my original post on the Gamification of PE, and I have been overwhelmed with the discussion that has been generated amongst colleagues, both at my school and in the twittersphere. I must pay great thanks once again to Mike Prior, creator of the PE circle, the site I first posted on, and also to Sporticus, who included the blog in his PE playbook, providing me with a greater reach of readers.
In this blog, I intend to share some of the ideas and resources that have been created by others who have taken on board some of the principles of my first blog. I also aim to outline some of the additional ideas I have used in recent months that have been inspired by and are in keeping with the concepts in my original blog.
Ideas of others
The idea below is courtesy of Tom Brush, and is quite simply one of the best resources I have ever seen. It embraces many elements of gamification, including:
- the use of ranks and levelling up
- the language of video games – modern warfare, map, ranks, perks
- The incentive of perks, providing choice and motivation to achieve.
Since posting this on twitter back in November, Tom has received over 100 likes and retweets. I myself have taken many of the perks featured and included them in my own lessons.
A sport I had never considered applying these ideas to was badminton. Thankfully though, MrMcAleenan had other ideas, and posted this resource on PE4Learning, using Tom’s resource above as inspiration.
I have replicated this idea with a year 10 class, and I must say they were mad for it! Not quite as fancy a resource, but the outcome was still great.
Capture the Flag
No resource to show for this, but I have had a discussion with a colleague who told me he has taken ideas from my traditional Capture the Flag set up and applied it to a different game mode – Domination.
He did this using rounders posts and coloured cones. Each team claims domination of a “command post” by placing one of their coloured cones on the rounders posts. A team wins when they control all of the command posts (he used four).
A fantastic variation of the classic CTF!
Capture the Flag
Much akin to the idea above, I have also experimented with different game modes with CTF. The one that proved most successful was Heist mode. Here’s how it works:
- 2 team setup as normal
- A bank is marked by cones in the middle of the area, with a vault marked by cones inside of that.
- All flags start inside the vault (I go with 6)
- 4 guards stand in the ring of the bank (use members of the teams waiting off). Guards cannot leave the bank, and cannot enter the vault.
- Both teams are trying to enter the vault, without getting tagged by the guards. Teams cannot tag each other in the vault or the bank. Essentially, the vault is a safe zone.
- Once picking up a flag, players must try to escape the ring of the bank without getting tagged by a guard.
- Play continues like this until all the flags have left the vault. The game now continues as normal capture the flag, with each team trying to steal from the other.
- Guards can now either simply leave the game, or, can try to return their flags back to the vault.
- If choosing the latter option, they can only attack the team that has the most flags. this works as a brilliant way of stopping one team dominating.
- guards cannot tag anyone, but can be tagged by any player in their defensive half. If they are tagged, they are permanently eliminated from them game.
I have used this as an advanced option for a year 11 group and they loved it. It requires a fair amount of organisation and co-operation, but provided a great way of keeping the game fresh.
I have devised a way of applying the concepts of ranks and levelling up to a fitness activity that I have used both within a block of fitness for a year 7 class, and also as a doubled up activity for 67 students. Here’s how it works:
- Group students into teams of 4-5
- Put 8 military ranks on the board (private – general) and 9 fitness activities (sit ups, squats, lunges etc)
- Assign a number to each rank, progressively making the number higher for the next rank up (I start on 50 for private, and increase each rank by 50, ending on 400 for general)
- The aim of the game – each team must complete one exercise for each rank, completing the number of repetitions for that rank. e.g.
- private – 50 press ups
- specialist – 100 tuck jumps
- sergeant – 150 squat thrusts etc
- only 1 member of each team can do the exercise at a team, so they must rotate and take turns.
- first team to complete all ranks achieve the status of GENERAL is the winner
I have done this twice now, and think it is an excellent activity for the following reasons:
- there is a great deal of tactics and strategy. Teams must decide which activities are easier or harder, and must also eliminate one entirely (the hardest) because there is one less rank than exercises. They must also work out the best way to divide up reps – do 10 each then change, allow some people to do more because they are fitter?
- There is a huge element of self-management. They must work effectively as a team, keep their own score, encourage other people. I give each team a whiteboard and pen so they can keep score and record what level they are on.
- The element of competition is extremely motivating. I put a large table on the board and each team has to put a cross in their team’s column every time they complete a level – really adds suspense to the whole thing!
To add to the atmosphere and the theme of gamification, I put on the soundtrack of a call of duty game (incredibly tense and dramatic), and use lots of the language taken from the game (call them squads instead of teams, refer to their mat as their base etc).
Not only do the students I have done this with love it, they work incredibly hard for an entire lesson and remain extremely motivated to do so. It takes teams around 25 minutes to complete the activity, and I sometimes follow up with a shorter version to finish the lesson.
Also, having left all of this on the whiteboard one day, I taught a year 10 group later in the day who saw it. One boy genuinely said out loud, “Fitness Call of Duty – that sounds amazing. I would boss that!”. He didn’t even know what it was, but because it had been presented with the premise of a video game, he was already sold (this was a top performing sporty boy, might I add).
This next method has worked incredibly well with the traditional “unsporty” boys that do not gain motivation and enthusiasm from talking about traditional sports. In the fitness gym, I have tried tapping into another aspect of the video game culture that I know is very popular for many boys right now – superheroes.
I have designed training programmes based on the powers and strengths of various well known superheroes.
This immediately created excitement amongst the group, and two boys were heard having a very heated debate about the training method the hulk would use! Below is an example of the resource that I actually used, and it really was a huge success.
I also used a hulk sheet for muscular strength, and spiderman for CV endurance. The scenarios were written using comic book language, telling them they had to complete a training programme to defeat a villain. Again, music was used to aid motivation – this time I opted for a superhero soundtrack collection!
It is my intention to take this idea further, and I am in the process of creating a “Superhero training course”. This is how it will work:
- Using the notion of ranks and levelling up, each student will be given a booklet and will start off as superhero level 1.
- Each level on the training course will consist of various challenges in the fitness suite e.g. complete 5 minutes on the treadmill, or lift 20 repetitions on X machine. The intensity of the challenges will increase with each level, as will the number of them.
- The “perks” of levelling up will be that each student will gain a superpower. These will come in the forms of making the next level easier e.g. invisibility will mean they can cross off one of the challenges without having to actually complete it. A new superpower can be chosen each time they level up.
It is my hope that, for boys that are not interested by traditional sports, this will really motivate them to push themselves and work harder in lessons. I am unsure as to whether it will have the same effect on girls groups, but I imagine if it were adapted in a suitable way, then it absolutely would.
The principles of gaming have brought about great success for me with many classes and activities, and they work for one very simple reason – learning occurs best when students are interested and motivated. To me, it makes complete sense to use things that engage them in their personal lives, such as video games and superheroes, to support learning within a PE lesson. Anther example of this that I hope to use in the near future, and I know others on twitter have already done so, is creating resources with the theme of FIFA Ultimate team.
This blog has only been possible because of the exceptional community on twitter reading the previous one and then adapting ideas, in the process encouraging me to adapt different ideas also. It would be great if this blog had a similar effect, and I would be delighted if people shared with me resources or ideas they have used on similar lines as these.
Please comment, and feel free to share with me on twitter – @leea1990.