A few weeks ago, I finally took the plunge and downloaded Plants Vs Zombies 2: Garden Warfare. I was a fan of the first volume, but I ended up deleting it over personal reasons. As many of you know, I have been using Perler Beads as an alternative to 3D printing for my sessions due to our lack of a printer and only able to loan a 3Doodlr for our students. I was on Pinterest a week ago and I saw these simple designs for the various plants in the game. I decided to surprise our middle school science class and put the Peashooter on the screen.
Immediately everyone knew what it was, but then I asked: “What is a Peashooter?” Everyone in the room went silent. I then asked: “What happens when you give it plant food?” Answer was pretty simple, they knew it fire out rapid shots and got an army helmut. I then asked: “Why that helmut?” Once again, silence. I then told them to do two things, research peashooter and the helmut. Away they went on their chromebooks. Within ten minutes, my students found out the origins of the peashooter and the military ranking and then put it together on the power-up and what it means. Such amazing learning and research done by showing a video game character that is based off a simple formula.
So, that’s my lesson today for Explore Like a Pirate, use a game character, any one will do, but give out a project on the origins of the character. I’m not talking about a slice of pizza missing from a whole that inspired Pac-man. I’m talking about the various time periods and in Plants vs Zombies. Why are zombies playing pianos and wearing saddle bags on their heads in the Wild West? What is the mythology basis for Kid Icarus? Why has Mario been fighting a set of turtles known as Koopas? Not to mention, what is a goomba really?
Give it a try, set up a set of picures, QR Codes or display some Perler Beads creations and see what your students will discover in your classroom.