Lure of the Labyrinth – Visualising Thinking

We are now in our third term of using Lure of the Labyrinth as part of the maths curriculum in the 5/6B classroom this year. We have been able to incorporate one hour per week of game time in our timetable as part of our maths program for most weeks. Student enthusiasm towards the game has not lessened with continued use – there are enough puzzles and levels of difficulty within the game to keep students challenged and engaged throughout the year. Even when all the pets are rescued and the bad guy is defeated the game can still be played. None of my students have finished the game yet and only one is even close to completing enough puzzles to finish it. I completed the game a couple of months ago and discovered that you do not need to complete all levels of all puzzles but must master all levels of some puzzles in order to achieve the goals within the game that allow the player to finish it (earn coins, buy tools required to overcome obstacles, unlock required rooms etc).

Students use graphic organisers with increasing confidence and are now able to explain how they benefit from recording their thinking and exploring more than the answer the game is looking for – as shown in this photo students can experiment with the parameters their puzzle presents to them (each puzzle presents different numbers to each player).

When students play the game, I am truly a facilitator for learning. I no longer get questions like “how do I do this?” but students call me over to show me new discoveries and share their knowledge with me.

As student confidence with the game and the problem-solving skills required has increased, I have seen more and more students begin to create their own graphic organisers for the puzzles. Some draw organisers similar to the one downloaded from the game website, others come up with different ways to represent their thinking on paper. One boy still refuses to use a graphic organiser, printed or drawn, but when you sit with him and get him to talk you through what he’s thinking, it becomes clear that he really doesn’t need one – he’s a talented visual thinker and a natural with numbers. In this way the game caters for a wide variety of thinking skills.

Many of the characters in Lure of the Labyrinth are featured in a book I purchased from my local post office on the holidays called Monsterology. As a grade we have been able to make links between the game, this book and other texts such as the Harry Potter series. Mosterology is part of a series of books and students have starting bringing other titles on the series to school to share with the grade.

I continue to be amazed at the depth and breadth of learning opportunities presented by Lure of the Labyrinth. Games-based learning has enabled my students to make connections such as the ones mentioned here, and as the year goes on they have done this with less and less guidance from me. The students really are driving their own learning both when playing the game and following their own interests from the game. I can’t recommend it strongly enough.

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