Monday, July 11, 2011

Questionaut: Using Fun to Develop Problem Solving and Academic Skills

If you haven't been to BBC's Bitesize education site yet, you simply need to go.  Run don't walk.  It is put together extremely well and the material covered is very closely related to national and state standards here in the US and Texas.  I really enjoy the science lessons as they provide exciting experiment-style activities that are engaging while also containing enough information for them to be considered a learning experience and not simply play. 

Questionaut is a flash based game from BBC and requires the player to take the Questionaut through multiple floating islands in a surreal cartoon landscape in order to find his friend's hat.  Along the way, the player must identify how to manipulate each environment to gain access to questions that will fill his balloon and allow him to climb higher to each new level. 

Questionaut is great for helping students build problem solving and critical thinking skills while at the same time testing basic academic concepts.  The beautifully rendered graphics and wild, surreal landscapes and characters will keep students engaged to the point where they won't even realize they are working. 

A word of caution seems necessary though.  As this is a British site, there are some odd language differences such as variant spelling on words and alternate meanings for words than found here in the US.  Also, you will sometimes encounter concepts that may not seem grade level appropriate based on state and national standards, but most questions are close enough. 

I recommend Questionaut for higher level 3rd grade students through 5th grade students.


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