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Teach Problem-Based Learning
with FazGame

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Theory

Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

PBL is a method of learning, where the teacher assigns you a problem to solve. Your goal is to find the crucial information to solve the problem.

Teacher Resources

  • Theory: This lesson teaches your students how the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) ideology works.
  • Play: The students utilize PBL and FazGame to find solutions to problems.
  • Share & Discuss: These tasks focus on the experience of creating games and mastering PBL.

Tell the students:

In the PBL method, the teacher is a mentor and does not directly give the right answers. The idea of the method is that the students do not know much of the topic because their task is to find more information and ask the right questions. With this method, you have the chance to practice independent learning and find out what exactly you need to work on. These are the same skills you will need long after you’ve left school. PBL is undertaken in small groups, where each individual member typically has a unique role. For example, it is common for groups to have a secretary, a role that is rotated among the members of the group.

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ADDITIONAL METHODOLOGY FOR TEACHERS:\

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Step 1: Study the Problem

  • Read the scenario and work assignment with the team
  • Are there any concepts or terms you are unfamiliar with?
  • What roles are necessary?
  • Select roles for your group’s members (e.g. one is a secretary)

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

PBL projects start with clear assignments.

Group the students into small groups at the start of the class with a criteria of your choosing and give the assignment in writing. The first phase in the groups is to read the assignment and make it understandable by clarifying difficult or unknown concepts. When the assignment is clear, the group can start thinking: what truly is the problem?

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Image Source: Demonstrating activity-based learning in the classroom, Wikimedia Commons.

Step 2: Recognize the Problem

  • What questions are raised by the scenario?
  • What doesn’t the assignment tell you?
  • What is the real problem?
  • Write down everyone’s questions.

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

In terms of approaching the problem, it is important that the groups think of questions about the assignment and manage to define what the actual problem is. These questions should be written down, because all members of each group are essential for solving the assignment. Often, the solution is not discovered by the loudest member of the group but with discussion amongst all members.

Image Source: The lithium hydroxide device the Apollo 13-astronauts put together from available parts in flight, Wikimedia Commons.

Step 3: Create Ideas

What do the members of the group know about the problem?
How could the problem be resolved?
Where can you find information to support your potential solution(s)?
Write down the things you need information on!

Optionally: You can always ask the teacher for help or feedback if you need it.

Teacher Resources

In the brainstorming step the group collects all the information they already know about the subject. The students will most likely notice that they know less than they thought. What kind of potential solutions are there to the problem?

ADDITIONAL METHODOLOGY FOR TEACHERS:

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Step 4: The Subject?

  • Go through the ideas. Can they be merged?
  • Choose the best or the most fitting idea for further development.
  • How does the information you’ve gathered fit your list of potential solutions?

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

The information the students already know is usually not enough, so the group has to think of things they need more information about. Using a mind map or any type of diagram your students are used to can be utilized at this stage.

Image Source: Mind map of the mind map guidelines, Wikimedia Commons.

Step 5: Find Information

  • Write down clearly both the problem and the suggested solution.
  • Which things do you need more information on?
  • How does information gathering occur within your group?

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

Finding information is partially an individual and partially a group assignment. Independent learning must be undertaken by each individual member of each group. Still, the goal for each group is to gather all their information and evaluate what information is relevant to the problem.

Image Source: Library, Pixabay.

Step 6: Research and Discussion

  • Usually research is done independently.
  • Agree on when you will group up again and share what you’ve learned.

If everyone agrees that the information fits your solution, move on to step 7. If not, return back to the idea stage (step 2). Are your solutions and ideas realistic in light of all this new information?

Teacher Resources

It’s a good idea to move on to FazGame only in the end.
Some students may wish to start using the game before they have the problem or all necessary knowledge ready. This is often a bad idea and you can tell the students this. The PBL process involves collecting information, and only after the group has a strong consensus on a solution to the problem is it a good idea to start working on the report (in this case FazGame).

Step 7: Reporting

  • The last step is reporting. This can be done, for example, in the form of FazGame.
  • The topic is presented to the whole class together as a group.
  • The goal is to present the entire problem solving and information gathering process and receive feedback on them.

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

In general, PBL projects are presented to the entire class during the lesson. The goal is to describe the entire process of information gathering, analysis and alternate solutions. The group gets feedback and critique for its performance, since one goal is to understand what remains to be learned in the subject. Therefore, the process itself is important, not the end result.

Play

Play: Scenario

There is an amusement park near your home city, where Chico and Anna are enjoying their vacation. Chico drops the plastic candy wrapper on the ground and Anna criticizes this, asking Chico: “How does littering affect nature?”

Make a FazGame about this topic. What are the different ways that Chico can act, and what repercussions do these choices have?

Teacher Resources

This assignment is universal, because it has the students think of humankind’s impact on nature and pollution. Here are some questions you can use to engage your students:

  • How do large-scale events such as an amusement park produce trash when compared to normal life?
  • How does plastic affect nature?
  • What different ways can you act in this situation?
  • What if you act in the wrong way in this situation? What effects remain after a month, a year or after 10 years?

The aim of FazGame is to use dialogue to describe different options and their effect on the environment and people. The most important aspect of the process is not the game. Rather, it is the work put into the process of creating a game that counts!

The Maastricht Seven Step Process

  1. Go through the described scenario.
  2. Discuss with your group. What do you know of the problem?
  3. Produce ideas on how to solve the problem.
  4. With your group, collect a list of the things you need more information on. Which of these are the most important?
  5. Find information on the subject.
  6. Present the information to your group. (If necessary, return to step 2)
  7. Create a presentation on the subject (FazGame)

Teacher Resources

This version of the Maastricht seven step process includes 7 steps, but different versions of PBL can also include 6 or 8. The slides 5 to 11 go through the entirety of this process step-by-step. You can skip these instructions with a group that is familiar with the process, moving on directly to slide 12.

Share & Discuss

Share & Discuss

  • All group members present.
  • The goal is to estimate the success of the process.
  • Four questions:
    a) What did you try to do?
    b) Why did you succeed/fail?
    c) Why were the results the way they were?
    d) In the future, what should and shouldn’t you do?

Teacher Resources

The project ends in the end discussion (debriefing, Post-Mortem). The end discussion is often the target of aversion because it also includes a component of critical thinking of a group’s work. Failure, however, is something that helps students evolve.

In this end discussion, the most important goal is a constructive approach: things that worked and helped the project are kept in the next project. The elements that didn’t work and didn’t help the group should not be included the next time around. Anything that the group has learned should be simplified into easily followable rules.

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