Teaching diverse groups of children, each with their own personalities and ways of learning, is incredibly difficult.
For instance, it certainly was difficult for me to learn at times: I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of five. Learning through traditional methods proved to be a challenge.
Even students who don’t have diagnoses can have trouble learning new concepts through the traditional lecture-and-homework method. Most humans are, in fact, visual learners.
For these students, computer games are a fantastic way to teach kids that can allow them to actually retain new concepts. Studies have shown that video games actually provide cognitive development benefits and these effects can be amplified if the games are geared towards specific educational subjects.
To help you use more games in the classroom, we’ve compiled a list of the top websites for educational games covering core subjects like math, language arts, and social sciences for elementary, middle, and high school.
[NOTE: Entries are not listed in any particular order]
Game On is a site that I happened to stumble upon in my research and I actually found myself messing around with a few of the games. This website aggregates games from all over the internet. It has games for major subjects like math and language arts, and even secondary subjects such as art and music. Game On provides integrative lessons that teach algebra, physics, cell anatomy, and much more. And the games cover all educational levels..
I was particularly drawn to the US history games and economics games under the high school social studies category.
The site may not be much to look at, but the resources it provides are what make it a great entry for online educational gaming.
I gotta be honest, math was definitely not my favorite subject growing up. (That’s probably why I became a writer.) There just wasn’t a whole lot of energy and excitement behind the idea of combining numbers to create different numbers in my mind. I especially loathed having to go up to the board to demonstrate these skills in front of the whole class.
However, when I could practice math in a game format, it instantly became much more interesting to me. I am sure I am not alone in this.
Well, for students who struggle to find any interest in math, Math Play is the perfect website to teach all kinds of mathematical concepts in a fun and interesting way. This site is geared toward younger students, particularly those at the first grade to the sixth grade level.
Game topics range from basic addition and subtraction to more complex subjects such as using variables or finding the probability of events.
Yes, I know, another math website. However this one is important to me since it was one that my school district used for my classes to teach us all kinds of mathematical concepts. This website was instrumental in helping me understand algebra in middle school since I was more of a visual and hands-on learner.
This website is split into two sections. Cool Math 4 Kids is geared towards children thirteen years and younger. Cool Math is geared towards anyone older than thirteen.
Not only do these sites provide games for students, but they also have plenty of lesson plan ideas to help teachers effectively demonstrate these concepts in the classroom.
Sheppard Software is an educational game website that promises to give your brain a workout. Considering its vast range of subjects, they mean it.
Sheppard Software ranges in educational levels all the way from preschool up to and even beyond college. It seems their users are satisfied with their experience with the website considering the positive reactions from teachers (and museums).
I have not gone through and played the games on this website. But I’m confident looking at the reviews on their website that this is a quality resource for many if not most core lessons at any educational level.
Although the look of the site may have changed drastically since I was younger, Funbrain is a website I definitely remember from my days in elementary and high school. I was frequently on computers as a child (technology was passion of mine) and while most of the game websites were blocked by school firewalls, Funbrain was one of the few that we were allowed to access.
I can’t tell you how many hours I spent on the Funbrain arcade, playing educational games such as Penguin Drop.
Funbrain deals with with more basic core subjects such as mathematics and reading skills. However some of their other games in the arcade may dabble in basic physics while others may test your reflex and reaction skills. When I would get on Funbrain in school, I would have so much fun that I wouldn’t realize that I was actually learning.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a like a walking, talking book of random facts. I love knowing things and teaching others about interesting things about the world.
For example, did you know that the hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining makes absolutely no architectural sense whatsoever and that this was most likely done on purpose by Kubrick to disorient the viewer? Well, now you do!
If only I had known about a site like Fact Monster when I was in school. I can only imagine how much my addiction to factoids would have grown.
Fact Monster has plenty of quizes and trivia games on all sorts of subjects geared towards teaching all kinds of interesting information. Want to learn about the history of the American flag or how big a “bit” is in computer terminology? Fact Monster has you covered.
In addition to their games and lessons, Fact Monster also provides homework help for all kinds of subjects such as math, history, or science.
This list is by no means definitive, since there are TONS of educational gaming websites out there. I chose these websites based on whether site content was redundant with others, ranges of content, and how well they are known. If you feel as though we overlooked a quality educational game site that ought to have been included in this list, let us know in the comments below!