Thursday, November 15, 2007

About the Game

Getting Started

Go to and click on Education in the toolbar. Under "Headbone Derby", click on "Escape to Freedom" and you will get to start on the game! You will be prompted to sign up for playing the complete game. It's free!

About Signing Up

Parents will be happy to know that when kids sign up to play games on headbone, they will be prompted to enter their parents' email address as well as their own. The parents are then sent an email that lets them know their child has signed up and gives them information about privacy, the website, and a link to cancel their child's access if desired.

What makes this so special for learning?

This game is sponsored by the History Channel and can be played individually by children, or collectively as a "team" so that you can compare your earned points with other kids or teams across the country. The Scores and Rules are explained in a simple manner by clicking on the links. Also provided is a really great Teacher's Guide! The Teacher's Guide gives ideas for incorporating the game into classroom and is broken down into sections: Summary of the game, Planning and Preparation, Grades 4 and 5 (activities and discussions and learning objectives and curriculum), Grades 6, 7, & 8 (activities and discussions and learning objectives and curriculum), Links, and Resources.

What I think makes this game REALLY special is the way it can be used in either a school library or the children's area of a public library! The game does more than teach kids about the American Slave experience on the Underground Railroad, it gives them experience using the internet for research! I'll give more ideas for how to use this in a library setting in a later post, so keep reading!

The Game Questions

Okay, don't cheat, but I'm going to give you the ten questions this game asks its players right now...just to give you an idea of how hard they are!

1. Who was President at that moment (1850)?

2. What does John mean by the "drinking gourd"?

3. What were slaves called when they were transported on the Underground Railroad?

4. What law was passed in 1850 that would explain why Jeb would need a pass in the North?

5. Where is this "station"?

6. Who is Araminta Ross and why is there a bounty on her head?

7. What is the significance of the year 1863 in terms of slavery?

Each question has four options to pick from, clues to unscramble, and a link to a search engine for kids! All of the questions are provided in the Summary section, including Hints on the answer (that help give a hint on how to search for it!).

What is so fun about this?

The questions above may not be so much fun for a kid to explore, but this game is kind of like an interactive comic strip, with fun and colorful pictures to keep those fingers clicking onto the next question. Plus, when you try to get a hint, you get a great brain workout trying to unscramble the clues! Instead of just memorizing a bunch of dates and names, kids become part of a totally fun experience of trying to search for the answer, making it MUCH more likely that it will be remembered for a long, long time.

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