GeoGame is a popular Web-based geography project enjoyed by teachers and students alike. Are you up to the challenge? Included: Interactive geography projects across the grades!
Allison Abbott, a gifted-education student from Maplewood Middle School in Sulphur, Louisiana, loves Global SchoolNet's GeoGame Project. "It's a game that you can play in school and not get in trouble for playing it during school," she says.
Her teacher, Lisa S. Monteith, found the project to be ideal for her fourth to eighth graders. "My goals in joining GeoGame were to provide the students in my world geography class with practice in using map skills and an opportunity to sharpen their deductive reasoning skills." It accomplished those goals and more.
GeoGame is an Web-based project in which students match clues with city names -- and it isn't easy! There are several clues and cities in each list, so to do well, good researching skills are a must. Since its implementation by Global SchoolNet in 1991, the project has been extremely well received and very popular, particularly among its target audience of upper elementary and middle level teachers and students.
This year, Monteith used GeoGame as an extension of her students' studies. "For our final project, I gave each student a list of the cities and two sets of clues from GeoGame," Monteith told Education World. "The students had the option of working individually or pooling their clues and working in small groups. When every individual or group was satisfied that the correct answers had been found, we worked as one large group to collate our answers. Each student had to give his or her answer and support that decision with evidence from maps and research materials."
The class responded well to the activity. "My students always enjoy playing GeoGame, and this year was no exception!" exclaims Monteith. "They work enthusiastically. When they are stuck, they employ skills they've learned in Habits of Mind, such as persistence. In the past my students have had intense debates over answers when there were two or more groups that chose the same one!"
Sarah Miller, another of Monteith's students says, "We enjoyed the GeoGame because we were learning and having fun at the same time, and figuring out the clues made it more of a challenge."
Ryan Carruth says that GeoGame is different from other classroom activities because, "We learned multiple skills." Joan Rasmussen feels that the distinction is even simpler. "It is different because it is done over the Internet," she says.
Students come away from the project with more acute research skills and a wealth of geography knowledge. Carruth, Abbott, and another student, Kasey Gallegos, explain that through GeoGame they learned how to use maps, where cities are, and which landforms are in which state. Any teacher who is responsible for geography education appreciates how difficult it can be to make this subject interactive, fun, and exciting. These students say that GeoGame does just that!
"GeoGame is one of the best educational activities available on the Internet," states Monteith. "Students are learning about other people and places while actively engaged in their own classrooms. It meets specific goals and objectives in a flexible time frame."
Monteith has been involved with the project for eight years. "I learned about GeoGame when I served as a [system operator] for the Free Educational Mail Network, now known as Global SchoolNet," she recalls. "GeoGame was one of the first SchoolNet activities I participated in."
No one knows GeoGame better than Lorna Pasos, its project coordinator. "I have volunteered to manage this project since it became active," she explains. "My first game had 28 respondents, and [the most recent game had] 1,215! We were doing three sections each year until last year when it became so huge that I needed to extend the time I needed to check clues to make up the games."
Throughout her experience with GeoGame, Pasos has experimented with the project, but the core of it has remained the same. "I have tried games of different lengths, from 20 to 50 clues," she recalls. "The most satisfying games are those with 20 clues. This seems to be the best for email because there are fewer errors in receiving and sending the games, and more of the participants get winner certificates. I would like everyone to be a winner!" Due to its accessibility and continuous play, GeoGame is likely to help Pasos achieve this goal!
Anyone can play GeoGame! You may check out this and the many other worthwhile Internet projects on the Global Schoolhouse Web site.
This project involves sending and receiving postcards to and from participating schools. The cards are posted to a classroom bulletin board with maps for students to use in finding the locations of the other schools.
Article by Cara Bafile
Copyright © 2007 Education World
Originally published 02/15/1999
Last updated 06/02/2011