August 2016: Pokémon Go in the classroom

Kathy's Katch

How can you utilize the game “Pokemon Go” in your classroom in a meaningful way? Student excitement about this game can be easily harnessed to support all kinds of fun and pedagogically-sound lessons and activities!

Before we start, and if you have not yet played the game, there are some vocabulary words you might need.

 

VOCABULARY

Screenshot from game

Screenshot from game

  • Pokemon Go: an augmented reality, GPS-based, mobile device game which uses real-world locations to gather virtual items
  • Pokemon: the characters in the game you seek to capture and use for other purposes
  • Pokeball: the item you need to capture Pokemon
  • Pokestop: Place you locate in the game and visit to gather Pokeballs
  • Pokedex: An incomplete encyclopedia given to you in the game that is populated with details of the Pokémon as you capture them
  • Gym: a specific place in the game where you can have your Pokemon battle for control
  • Journal: a time-based list of your activity in the game
  • Pokemon trivia: Pokemon is short for “Pocket Monsters”
  • APA style guide for “Pokemon Go” information.

 

 

 

 

I doubt if there are many Pokestops or Pokemon in or around your school. And I’m not suggesting playing the game in your classroom. However, after playing it myself for the past few days, I’ve had some thoughts on how to use the game to expand the learning and target some of the literacies we want students to attain.

Some of the following activities require students to take some extra time and gather information as they’re actually playing the game. Others they can complete after they’re done for the day.

 

VIRTUAL REALITY IMAGES

Many of the Pokestops in the game showcase a local business, attraction or historical site. Since students  already have their phone in their hands, have them use the Google Street View app to take a 360° spherical panoramic image of the Pokestop. Having these images to share with others will both promote community pride as well as allow immersion in the Pokestop via a Google Cardboard Viewer or via the Ricoh Theta S app. By taking the time to create and share the 360° images, students will become familiar with some of the cool sites in their community.

Here is a sample of a 360° image taken at a site of a Pokestop. Click and drag your mouse around the image to view it.

As you or students create 360° images, please consider Creative Commons-licensing them for use by others, joining my Flickr group called 360° Images for Schools and uploading them!

 

DIGITAL STORYTELLING

Augmented reality

Augmented reality

One of the neat features of the “Pokemon Go” game is, when students find a Pokemon in the wild, they can turn on an augmented reality version of their mobile device screen which puts the virtual Pokemon into the live scene where their camera is facing.

Students can then take a screenshot of the image. By saving the screenshots to their camera roll, students will have access to them later to use in other classroom projects, such as creating a digital story about their adventures.

Don’t forget- students will need access to tools for planning, preparing, and producing their digital story. Ideas and successful practices for creating digital stories can be found on my digital storytelling site.

Easy digital storytelling creation tools

 

DATA LITERACY

Journal screenshot

The Journal component of the game automatically records the time and date of the events as they occur — whether it be collecting Pokeballs or capturing a Pokemon. Students can use the data to figure out the average number of events per day or to graph their allocation of items from a Pokestop. Using data they have collected and analyzing it will help students start to become familiar with the data literacy skills of data processing, data manipulation, data presentation, and data analysis. A great rubric for data literacy analysis by Andrew Churches can be found here.

 

Data entered in spreadsheet

Data entered in spreadsheet

Another treasure trove of data can be found in the Pokedex. Each Pokemon that is captured includes an information card, including height and weight (in metric). This data can be analyzed and manipulated for any number of measurement activities. (i.e. How many of which Pokemon would you need to stretch all the way across the US? What would be the total weight of all of them?) In addition, students could use Airtable (iOS app) to create their own relational database of their “Pokemon Go” data and become familiar with some of the features of a database (i.e. tagging, searching, sorting, etc.)

Info card from Pokedex

MAPPING

Encourage students to either gather the GPS points of their finds as they play the game or have them collect that info when they are done for the day. One site that makes this easy is http://www.gps-coordinates.net/ Students can search for a location on Google Maps from this site and then copy the GPS coordinates that show up.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 8.06.12 PM

 

Once students have this GPS data, have them locate the GPS point in Google Earth, add the screenshots for the Poketops or areas they visited in the game, and have them create a “Google Pokemon Go Trip”. Students quickly become aware they are actually using real-life places in the game and can share their journeys with others. To learn how to start this process, instructions for the Google Lit Trips project will help you out!

 

INFOGRAPHICS

Use the data compiled from the “Pokemon Go” Journal and any additional information students collect (for instance, the number of steps they take in any one day) to have students create an infographic using one of the online tools or mobile apps. I have lists of these apps and tools both on my Guide to Everything Infographics page as well as in a previous Discovery Education Kathy’s Katch blog post.

Infographics should have an eye-catching image at the top with the most important data and then include secondary and tertiary data for those want to know more. Shaelynn Farnsworth provides some solid tips about teaching the basics of infographics to students here.

Inverted triangle

Inverted triangle

I used Canva to create a health-related infographic based on the number of steps I have taken while playing the game.

pokemongo2

SKETCHNOTES

Have students write a short piece about their personal reflection of the game. How long did it take them to learn how to play “Pokemon Go“? Have they joined any groups of people searching for rewards? What do they like best about playing? Least?

Have students exchange their writings or share a Google doc with another student. Each student should create a sketchnote from the writings of the other. Provide students with the basics of sketchnoting before you begin this project (i.e. text connectors, containers, shading, color, format) and then have them share the completed sketchnote with the author of the original piece. This can help students both practice visual notetaking, as well as learn how to pull out the most important points from a piece of writing. I have much more information about sketchnoting on my Guide to Everything Sketchnoting in the Classroom page and the July 2016 blog post in the Discovery Education Kathy’s Katch blog.

My sample is below. I sketchnoted this from a short piece that appeared on the CNET Web site.

skwtchnote

 

 

POKÉ PODCASTS

Once students have reflected on their sketchnotes and reworked their essay on the topic, have each student create a short podcast about their experience with “Pokemon Go”. Embed these podcasts in your class website and parents can enjoy the excitement that will definitely come through as each student reflects on their time with the game!

Podcasting tools

Have you started playing “Pokemon Go“? Have you thought of any ways to use this game to support teaching and learning? Please share in the comments!

 

 

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43 Comments

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  2. Karenan Smart said:

    I love this! Thanks for some fantastic ideas! I know that the game is getting a lot of flack but, as a teacher, I am always looking for ways to engage students with something that is current and popular. How COOL will I be to ask students to bring in the data from their most recent hunts! Although not as “tech-y” as your ideas, I was going to use Pokemon images and hide them around our playground….the kids (I teach 2nd) could use the school iPads to “capture” (take photos) and then I could assign tasks such as adding or subtracting different types of Pokemon, or incorporate other types of standards from what they “collect” (still working on the details). Thanks again!

  3. Sarah Horner said:

    Students could “invent” new Pokemon Characters – art, writing (descriptions) Critically thinking about the choices they make for game play could also be considered. Why and when to hatch which eggs in which incubator, which ones to transfer for more candy etc. As well they could write instructions (and/or create a video) for a new player explaining the game and strategies they use.

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  7. @TanaRaiyne said:

    In our district one of the high schools has a Gym and a few Pokestops near by! As the principal wrote, “That’s why i’m a Level 11 trainer!”

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  13. Bahamamo said:

    I am going to use Pokemon Go to create rhythm patterns in my music classroom.

    • Cris Flay said:

      Would you please explain how? I am presenting on Pokemon Go in the classroom and have ideas for all but music. Creating a ‘theme’ song and/or music was one of my few ideas. I’m interested in this.

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  17. Anna Kendall said:

    My stepson totally baffled me with his calculus-based calculations on our home whiteboard showing the theoretical distance it would take to find a Pokemon that shows 3 “footsteps” away. I am sure there are MANY more advanced mathematical experiences that can be accomplished using this game. We also created spreadsheets showing how to best utilize a lucky egg to level up.

    In sixth grade, I’ll be using it to supplement my ratios and proportions unit, statistics unit, geometry unit, and number sense unit.

  18. Irene Fenswick said:

    Wow! This is a very nice idea! Pokemon Go is going viral, and I think that it is the time for teachers to get on the bandwagon:) It will help educators to get children more involved in the learning process. Also, thanks for detailed instructions!

  19. John Rhinehart said:

    Hi! I’m not a teacher, more of a Pokemon GO nerd, and I was doing some math to help myself in the game and figured why not write it up as though it was a classroom problem. Hope this is interesting!

    Pokemath

    Jacob is trainer level 3 in Pokemon GO and wants to level up fast to compete with his friends. He reads online (with adult supervision) that the fastest way to level up is by catching Pidgeys, Wiglets and Caterpies because they can be evolved with the fewest candies. Jacob decides to catch as many Pidgeys as possible and evolve them.

    1. Pidgeys take 12 candies to evolve. If a Pidgey isn’t evolved, it can be transferred instead. A Pidgey gives a trainer 3 candies when first caught, 1 candy when transferred, and 0 candies when evolved. So Pidgeys which are evolved give 3 candies total, while Pidgeys that aren’t evolved are worth 4 candies total. What percentage of Pidgeys should be evolved?
    (Assume that Jacob will keep all the Pidgeottos and not transfer them after evolving them.)

    T = % of Pidgeys Transferred E = % of Pidgeys Evolved

    (4T * 3E) / 12 = E T + E = 1
    4T * 3E = 12E T = 1 – E
    4T = 9E

    4*(1 – E) = 9E
    4 – 4E = 9E
    4 = 13E
    4/13 = E
    30.77% = E

    2. A Pidgey is worth 100 EXP when originally caught, and 500 EXP when evolved. Assuming Jacob catches enough Pidgeys to evolve all he can with no remainder, how much EXP is each Pidgey worth to Jacob?

    EXP = 100 + 500 * .3077
    EXP = 253.8

    3. Jacob found a Lucky Egg in the game, which allows him to have double EXP for a half-hour. Catching the Pidgeys takes time, so he does that before evolving a bunch all at once. The 100 EXP from catching a Pidgey is the same, but the Lucky Egg will double the 500 EXP from evolving each Pidgey. How much EXP is each Pidgey worth to Jacob now?

    EXP = 100 + 1000 * .3077
    EXP = 407.7

    4. Jacob catches 78 Pidgeys over the course of a month. On the last day of the month, he uses a Lucky Egg and evolves as many as he can while the Lucky Egg is active. How much EXP did the 78 Pidgeys give Jacob in total?

    EXP = [78 * (4 / 13) * 1000] + [78 * 100]
    EXP = 31800

    5. If Jacob had caught 80 Pidgeys instead of 78, how much additional EXP would he have earned?

    200 EXP
    This is a trick question, because 78 was divisible by 13 (no remainder). The 2 additional Pidgeys would not give enough candies for an additional evolution and would only be worth the EXP that catching them provides, which is 100 each.

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  26. Deborah Chad said:

    Great post! Amazing how easy it is to get my third grader to use his math skills this summer to calculate how much money he would need in the store to get the incense and balls he needs. As a history educator, I love that the game highlights landmarks and I take the opportunity to point out what the monument or memorial is about while we play. I think like any game the key is communication and talking about what you are doing with your child. I will try the creative writing soon too.

  27. Dira said:

    I’m just about to start a PokeGo unit for maths, with questions such as:

    * Poke Stops: students will familiarise themselves with the Poke Stops in Bal park and on the oval.
    After collecting data about what is available at their stop and the length of time it takes for a Poke Stop to recharge, students will compare class data, graph it and using the pattern, work out how long it would take to collect 100 Pokeballs and then decide the most efficient way to collect them and the amount of time it would take.

    I love the ideas in your post and the contributors’ comments and I’m excited about modifying a few more activities. Thanks!

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  35. J Melchior said:

    I teach 3rd Grade and as we explore cultures around the world we will be sticking Pokestops on the map for each location. I will have the kids earn animals with different CP’s to add to their individual pokedexes (since we also study animal adaptations). I like the idea of using the Pokemon statistics to formulate Math problems as well 🙂

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