Categories : Weekly Blog
Biology is an exciting and complex subject. Like many other sciences, it has concepts that can seem difficult and abstract for your students. DNA. Heredity. Traits. Evolution. What about plant structure? Or human anatomy?
These interconnected topics are both crucial and challenging. Read on for our ideas on the best available educational games to teach biology in the classroom:
1. Crazy Plant Shop
From Filament Games comes a shop management game like no other: in Crazy Plant Shop, you buy, breed and sell plants to customers with discriminating taste. Someone needs a tall cactus with sharp needles? Take two plants, put them in the breeder and create the plants they need! The real challenge comes from getting the phenotypes right.
Every plant has a unique genetic makeup, known as a genotype. This genotype is directly responsible for the plant’s phenotype: its physical appearance. The catch is that every trait (such as height) has two different alleles: dominant and recessive. Since these alleles come in pairs and recessive traits become a phenotype only if there are no dominant alleles present, your customers can really throw you a curveball with their orders.
The beauty of Crazy Plant Shop is that all these seemingly difficult concepts are integral to the gameplay. Students simply have to master the art of breeding the right genotypes together in order to meet the orders!
2. Reach for the Sun
Another gem from Filament Games, this strategy game places you in control of a plant. How does a plant absorb nutrients? How does it create oxygen? Playing as one of five plants, all with distinct characteristics, the student must grow and fertilize their flowers before winter arrives.
The catch is that plants have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. A cactus might use asexual reproduction, but have difficulty growing multiple flowers. A squash might be unisexual, but requires multiple flowers to successfully reproduce. Not only are all these attributes based on real species, but the concepts are very helpful when learning about plant anatomy.
3. Dr. Guts
For a great (and silly) time to learn about human anatomy, look no further than Dr. Guts. Designed for younger students, the game has you perform some rather creative organ transplants. The wacky graphics and goofball attitude make sure that no one is going to be too bothered by the somewhat macabre subtext.
In addition to teaching about how each major organ works, Dr. Guts works as an opener on ethics and doctor responsibility. Students get to argue why the actions of the titular doctor are just plain wrong.
Want to get down to a cellular level? In Meta!Blast, students get to pilot a spaceship that shrinks down to microscopic level. Beginning from the leaves of the plant and moving down to traversal within the cells themselves, Meta!Blast provides a memorable and insightful experience with intercellular travel.
Gameplay consists of repairing damaged organic structures, analyzing biological matter and locating various objectives. In one sequence, you are tasked with building a strand of DNA, complete with the proteins and structure.
5. Climate Pursuit
The world is changing, and not for the better. The race is on as climate change sweeps across the nation, pressuring species to adapt, migrate or die. In Climate Pursuit, you control one such species - such as a plant, rodent or bird - and try to adapt and migrate quickly enough to ensure survival and proliferation. The game provides an interesting look at the process of survival, adaptation and a changing environment.
Where Can I Get These Games?
These awesome games, with the exception of Climate Pursuit, are already available to TeacherGaming subscribers at no additional cost, and separately through TeacherGaming Store on a licence basis to those without a subscription. Climate Pursuit, in turn, is available for free online. You can start playing right now, whichever game you prefer!