Using Among Us in the Classroom

Did you read right? Yes, you are, I’m here to talk about Among Us and how it can be used in the classroom. For those who don’t know, Among Us is a multiplayer game where four to 10 players are dropped onto an alien spaceship. Each player is designated a private role as a “crewmate” or an “impostor”. Very similar to Clue, where the game calls for three to six players to investigate a murder by gathering evidence. The winner is the player who, through the process of elimination, can figure out which three cards are hidden within the secret envelope that hold the answers to Mr. Boddy’s murder. Several teachers have been using Among Us in their classroom from debate to business and how it relies heavily on community and team work.

Crew members are trying to get the ship ready to take off and reach home by successfully completing certain tasks. The impostor works to sabotage the ship, known as the Skeld and two other levels known as Mira HQ and finally Polus, which is a large Geothermal Building. The Imposter can sneak through vents, deceive, and frame others to remain anonymous and kill off the crew. While everyone is fixing up the ship and completing the given tasks, no one is allowed to talk/chat in the game to maintain anonymity. Once a body is reported, however, the surviving crew may openly debate via text chat who they think the impostor is. If the impostor is not voted off, everyone goes back to maintaining the ship until another body is found. If the impostor is voted off, the crew wins! Besides the use of deduction skills, the game requires a lot of social interaction for success. Players are able to verbally discuss their thoughts about who the imposter is, as well as defend themselves if they are called out as the imposter. They must collaborate and work as a team to unmask the villain. And they will need to constantly review and revise their strategy in order to win.

While many might see the educational value in Among Us, there is actually several ways you can use it in the classroom. You can read about how other teachers have used the game here. While I was late to the Among Us party during the summer months after the game came out. I did see a lot of educational values to it, especially when almost 2/3 of my students were either playing the game or were very interested in starting it. It was my friend, John Meehan who talked about using the game in his classroom and you hear about how he used it through his podcast, Mee in the Car. Of course the question is, how did I use it in the classroom?

One of my business classes this fall semester is a very small group due to the placing of requirements and on our Hybrid schedule. Allowing me to have 10 players going at all time and having my wonder teaching assistant help me with monitoring the game. This would not be possible in other classes of mine this semester due to having over 18-27 students during the day and since my class focuses on the basics of business, this fit it with my previous two units and lessons on: ethics, discussion, mediation, business law, job tasks, analyzation and checks and balances. All but one of my students had an account, but have been looking for an excuse to play (by the way they did a little too well on their first few games). I had another one of my students set up the settings for the game. They included:

  • Fast speed so players had time to move across the level and not be set up for imposters and vice versa
  • 20 Tasks as in Any job, there are tasks you have to complete to keep your business running
  • Short “attack range” so the Imposters couldn’t take out other players from across the rooms in the levels (This makes the game way, way too short)
  • At least over a 1:20 on discussion during announcement and table discussions
  • At least 30 seconds to vote and also set up anonymous voting (love this feature)
  • Leaving the “kill” time to take over a minute between each to make sure both crew members and the imposters are using strategy
  • Finally allowing players to customize their appearance (along with filters)

I set up a Business Scenario with the players and made the level set up on Polus as it is a functioning power plant with several tasks and plays into a Geothermal Plant and matches up as a functioning business. The scenario runs that this is a group of ten trying to keep the power plant running efficiently and ethically, of course there are two imposters that are out to create a hostile take over. Not only setting up: sabotage, embezzling and ethical practices. Trying to pursue the other players that the business should be ran their way.

Discussion

From there I used a rule sheet that you can get a copy here that has the current private game code. Something you need to make sure is to keep it private to keep other players from getting in and to make sure you can monitor the game more closely. I also created a spreadsheet rubric to see who using the rules and business practices to not only discover who the imposters were, but also who was left. Finally, I of course used my own account to play into the game too (I also wasn’t the imposter at any time).

After that, I let my class go to work, it was amazing for advanced and beginner players how much they not only took to the game, but also how much they took to the tasks and discussions on trying to figure out the imposters or persuading the crew members who they were trying to get out of the game. We did have a few errors, one was that I and later another student accidentally had our mics still on in our Google Meet. This ended up exposing or “whistle blowing” out one of the imposters. Which, we both felt bad about, but the student also explained it tied into one of our ethic lessons and choosing what is right and what is wrong when you witness something wrong (talk about a break through!).

The game was also new to even my advance student players, as they had never ventured out of the first space ship level. So, this allowed them to really explore instead of going on a: “Take out everyone first!” This discussion and voting was well done, as we had meaningful discussion, no throwing out personal views or random talk. The deduction in the first game lead finding out the first two imposters quickly, but the second, let’s just say the hostile business take over of Polus Geothermal Plant was a victory for them.

It was great, and I am planning at least two more games coming up in the new six weeks that focus on competition in business and of course the stock market. If you want to learn more, please look up other ways classrooms are using Among Us from debate to yes, completing assignments. It’s a great time.

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