Making Learning Fun

Gameschooling with Science & Math Games 

Gameschooling is the idea that almost anything can be learned via games! With gameschooling, you intentionally use games to enhance and reinforce learning as part of your homeschool, classroom, or family culture. Things learned joyfully are best remembered, and gameschooling makes enjoyment central in learning. 

Gameschooling is fun, collaborative (isn’t learning things together the best?!), and skill developing. 

Gameschooling usually involves at least some of the following:

  • Strategy (math, logic, analytical thinking)
  • Communication skills (negotiating, listening, explaining)
  • Lifeskills (graciously winning and losing, turn-taking)
  • Executive functioning (planning, focusing, remembering, making decisions)
  • Critical thinking skills (assessing, adapting, problem solving)
  • Knowledge acquisition (learning scientific, mathematic, or historical content)

Honestly, gameschooling is an ideal way to learn and develop skills while having fun with family.

Let’s look at Ecosystem, a personal favourite of mine, through a gameschooling lens. 

“Build your own ecological network in Ecosystem, a biologically-derived card drafting game. Players choose, pass, and arrange eleven different card types consisting of organisms ranging from bees to bears and environments like streams and meadows. Earn points by aligning animals with habitats where they most flourish.

Biodiversity is rewarded while monocultures are penalized. Each time you play, you build a one-of-a-kind ecosystem, striving to balance the delicate connections between all living things.”

  • You must create a grid of cards 4 high and 5 cards wide. Math alert! This is puzzley and more complex than it sounds.
  • You must choose a card from one small deck while multiple decks are passing around the table. Executive functioning skills like planning and remembering are in play now. Critical thinking skills are practiced as you assess what you have available in the deck, adapt to what already is in your grid on each turn, and solve problems of where to place the occasional poorly chosen card. 
  • Each card is part of the Ecosystem (fox, eagle, trout, deer, bee, dragonfly, bear, meadow, rabbit, stream, and wolf). As you’d guess, you can’t place a fox by a wolf or bees by meadows to earn more points, as do trouts by streams. Stealth bio learning for the win!
  • You calculate your scores adding and multiplying small numbers according to the rules of placement. More math.
  • In the end, you win or lose graciously, congratulating your other players (lifeskills!) and debrief the game, where you went right or wrong (communication skills).

All of that in 15 minutes of fun. Too good to be true, except it’s not!

Gameschooling looks different for every family or situation. It could be planned as part of a homeschool curriculum or incidental learning through playing games for fun and connecting at home. 

Here are some gameschooling ideas:

  • Have one game be a focus for the week and play it each day
  • Use a game to start or conclude a lesson, to introduce or reinforce an idea or concept
  • Use games as quizzes
  • Use games as part of a unit study
  • Use games to teach one subject (maths is exceptionally popular)
  • Play games at the start or end of their school day
  • Have teens play with kindergartners while teaching elementary kids
  • Have game afternoons particularly with other homeschool friends

There’s no right or wrong way. However you like to gameschool, you’ll always be learning and developing. And whenever you want to learn about science and math, Genius Games has a game for you!

Here are some science card game Ideas to get you started with Gameschooling: 

Ecosystem - a card drafting game where players use animals and habitats to built a flourishing Ecosystem

Ion: A Compound Building Game - a card game where players use available ion cards and noble gas cards, to form either neutrally charged compounds or sets of stable noble gases

Math Rush - a cooperative math card game, where players must work as a team to sequence the solutions of their addition and subtraction equations, all the while racing against the clock!

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