Video Games as Lessons in Design
My son is fascinated by video games. I realize that many children are into video games, but for him, he sees the artistic and design aspects of them. He spends a lot of time drawing the scenes, the maps and the layout as if he is re-designing the game from scratch.
Recently I have begun to consider delight directed learning as a valid option for my advanced learning son. So a while back I asked him if he could choose any thing to study what would it be. He said, “How to make video games.”
His dad and I agreed that we would begin to incorporate such a study into our homeschool. But that it would be all encompassing and that he would learn every possible aspect of game design. We started with electricity.
We also loaded a game called Roller Coaster Tycoon onto our PC and laptop. We actually loaded 3 versions of this game. In this game he is able to build amusement parks. He has to design the terrain, the layout of the park, the roller coasters as well as the other rides.
In these type of games the player learns to manage the park as well. They have budgets (although for beginners you can set to easy which gives an unlimited budget), and must manage the cost of building with the income. They learn to manage staff, park cleanliness, food stalls as well as souvenirs.
By letting my son explore his desire to build video games, he is learning so many skills. He is learning physics through the building of roller coasters. Math & Finance in the management aspects and he is practicing his reading comprehension skills while learning the process of building and managing. He has to work the coaster builds in grid patterns, which is how digital animation is designed.
The excitement that he exhibits as he builds is infectious and before long mom and dad are joining in the fun. See another one of his roller coaster builds. What are some ways that you encourage creativity in your homeschool?