on Cloak of Protection has just come through. It’s wow! Also it lists the very useful ways to use the game in the classroom, for which I’m very grateful . . .
Quite frankly Cloak of Protection is one of the best educational games I have come across (and I and my family are all into board and card games so we have tried a lot).
Not only is the game play enjoyable (some luck, some strategy and negotiation), but I really appreciate the quality of the artwork, and the scope of the learning that takes place.
Before even playing the game:
We can examine the cards one realm at a time, and with the information on the predators we can see that some predators are a problem in some areas/habitats, and the damage they can do/have done
We can discuss how and why birds became extinct and it motivates us to help prevent more birds being exposed to predators
We can learn to identify and classify birds by their habitats and have interesting discussions about their physical features and how they might have adaptations to help them in their habitat
We can see the diversity and appreciate it, learn to do backyard surveys etc
Then we get to play, and the game is fun and engaging (and challenging when we are hit hard by predators, kids are building resilience skills too when they hit a big setback!).
I have a multi-age classroom and students have played this from 6-12 years of age (the five year olds, and some six year olds can play, they just may be a little less savvy in negotiations, although there are others willing to support!).
Although I have this as a learning game, it is on our shelf and available during wet lunch times and is a highly prized option.
organised by Enviroschools Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui- Greater Wellington, included an outdoor pollination game.
Arihia (pictured) worked on a version, based on Flight of Pollen. With the able assistance of the Otari School Bush Guides, over the two days, and with students from 8 schools, we played it a total of 14 times.
Showing great persistence, the Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui Facilitors, have been working (with me), on a LARP (Live Action Role Play) version of the game, for quite a while.
We played at Otari Wiltons Bush, on the Troup lawn. Surrounding the lawn is a botannical ‘zoo’ containing the forest that once covered much of Wellington. Only one percent of native forest remains on the Wellington peninsula.
and half of that surrounded us(!)
While we ‘pollinated’ on the lawn, flying insects checked us out. And, as part of the event, students also saw pollen and gecko skin under microscope.
Feedback from students and teachers: ‘ I didn’t know that pollinators had to work so hard!’, ‘fun’, ‘exciting’, and ‘let’s play it back at school’
On Tuesday 13 March, students from five Kapiti Coast schools came together for a teacher and senior student workshop.
In the morning Flight of Pollen was played in the Education Centre. This was very appropriate since both the Centre and the game have received generous support from the Philipp Family Foundation.
Then the afternoon was spent touring the grounds. Nga Manu Reserve provided an ideal setting in which to explore the concepts of pollination of our native flora and fauna. And guide Rhys (pictured) carefully grounded the game play elements (plants, pollinators, weather elements).
“Brilliant” said parents and students. “We noticed things around us that the game had in it – like pollinators.” “We identified plants.” “We learnt new things.”
Having shown they can now play the game, it has gone back to their schools, with the responsibility to teach the game to the students there. . .
“We will introduce and pollinate our school with the game,” said Kapanui students Leo, Zane and Jasmin.
Did they develop understanding of this topical local and global issue? Yes, definitely.
“We will now be more aware of what pollinators do for us.“
Last year we had (what I thought was) a fabulous suggestion for a rule change.
I see that I never reported this, or the outcome.
Rachel Eckersley, enviroschools co-ordinator Taranaki, suggested the following change:
When a predator is ‘Pandor-ed’ (ie given to another player via a Pandora) then that predator is removed from the pack for the rest of the game.
So, as part of a reward for the schools that had exceptional input during Game week (Sept 2013), I asked students if they thought this should become a rule of the game.
The responses were (not all schools replied):
Dyer Street School “It was a close call but overall we voted for keeping the current rule. Interesting discussion though.” NO CHANGE
Marco School “We have discussed the change of rule and are unanimous with leave it alone. Because quote ‘we will run out of predators and takes away the fun of the game.’ NO CHANGE
We could say that Pukerua Bay School are already playing a version of this rule, so we’ll take that as a YES to the new rule
And from Enviroschools Wellington facilitator Gill Stewart YES & co-ordinator Karyn Burgess MAYBE YES
So I was never sure where that left us!? Feel free to try out the rule in a game & give me some feedback.
Last week I played the game with some Porirua enviroschools at Te Rito Gardens. It was a blast! Arihia brought her son and he lifted the bar – proving right her comment “my kids are getting really savvy & strategic”!!
Then I got these comments from the Broom family: “We first came across your game when my daughter got to play it at Martinborough School as part of testing and feedback of lots of games (including Cloak of Protection). I took one game to friends in Jakarta over the holidays. It was such a hit. I am now buying them for my nieces in the UK!