Saturday, 4 August 2012
Comment: Gamebooks Can Be a Vital Learning Tool
A friend of mine and member of my gaming group is a teacher who once mentioned to be that he used Fighting Fantasy in the classroom. This is a brilliant idea and I propose every teacher adds it to their class at some point, and here's why. Fighting Fantasy relies on reading comprehension, mathematics and problem-solving - everything that a child should learn, but in an exciting way. Say you're wanting to teach about probability, FF has you covered. The kids have a LUCK score of 7 and they have to roll 7 or under to avoid being turned to stone by a basilisk, so they must work out the probability of rolling that number or lower. Simple addition and subtraction is used in combat, so instead of giving them a tired old "how many beans does Janine have?" pit them against a cockatrice. Have one of the kids read out the passage depending on the outcome.
Steve Jackson, the series' co-founder, actually invented a great downloadable teaching aid that works a lot like this. It gets pupils writing lengthy descriptions of their favourite monsters and even tests their artistic abilities with creature drawings.
Few things fire up a child's imagination like fantasy and the best form of learning is when you don't even realise you're learning - it's all integrated into something incredibly fun. Maybe we will even teach a whole new generation how to destroy Zanbar Bone.