I sampled two video games from the history channel website to grasp a better understanding of what we’re studying this week. The first game is a good tool for teachers of geography in a game entitled “Place the State.”
This game, in part a puzzle, requires players to fit the state shaped image into its correct location on a blank map of the United States. There are no borders of the states on the map so players are required to place the state into its location precisely. The player is timed while performing this requirement. Once the player correctly places the state into its exact location on the blank map of the United States, the player is asked a historical question about that state.
For example, after a player has correctly placed Washington state into its correct location, he/she is asked from which country did Washington’s territory come from as a result of a treaty signed in 1846? Of the four choices, the correct answer is: Britain. The player can choose from a beginner, intermediate, or expert level, which correspond to the difficulty of the questions. This game would be both a quality testing tool or a fun competition for teachers of geography and American history. It is also a great way to brush up on America’s states and their unique history.
The other game, Top Shot, is a shooting challenge that requires players to hit an array of targets. A player can choose if he/she wants to shoot arrows at a bulls-eye or guns at clay pigeons or swinging targets.
The easiest version of the game is the archery version because the target is stationary and does not involve shooting at multiple targets, like players are required to do for both clay pigeons and moving targets. Another version of the game is called “memory challenge” and requires players to look at a board covered in different color squares. Then the board is covered up and the game asks you to shoot at the squares that you remember being red.
3 Replies to “Show and Tell: Games on the History Channel”
First of all, the History channel is awesome (website and actual tv channel included). I loved this post of yours because it reminded me how I used to play various games on the history channel website. With regards to the two specific games that you wrote about in the post, I think they are yet another great example of tools that educators, teachers, parents, students, and anyone can use to teach or to learn about history. The game Top Shot must be named after the tv show Top Shot on the History Channel about, you guessed it, people being a top shot. In the tv show, contestants compete to see who is the best shot, with a variety of weapons from hand guns, to historic muskets, to archery. You learn a little history about each weapon in the show. Personally, I think that games that teach something AND that are fun are amazing. In a world where everything is digitized and where kids are spending more time playing non educational video games, it is refreshing to see fun games as educational tools as well.
I agree that the History Channel is one of the best stations on cable television. When I was in education, I used to hope that the seniors I worked with would go home and watch the history channel instead of MTV or ESPN, but, alas, most of the time those wishes were never realized.
It does not surprise me that the history channel not only provides a station on cable that has solid historical information that can be transferrred to the classroom, but video games that have equal veracity and impart accurate historical knowledge to players, while challenging students to learn history with depth and breadth. I also like that these games take thier lessons beyond basic facts and challenge students to learn history in a more sophisticated way. Thus they are encouraged to connect history to other disciplnes, like geography. It also stimulates students to think about the interconnectivity of literature, science and religion within a historical context, which is key to helping them complete their educational experience.
I wasn’t aware that History Channel did this, so thanks for pointing out. After exploring the gaming section of the site more, I think the thing that struck me most was the number of games available. There seems to be a lot of variation in the historical relevance and educational intent of the games. The simultaneous use of this platform for cross-marketing their shows and the novel delivery of potentially enriching content is a great example of just how far gamification has spread. I think the most hilarious option is Jurassic Fight Club… though I can’t imagine why anyone would pick anything but T.Rex FTW.