This simulation introduces students to the Voyages of Discovery. These daring overseas adventures marked the beginning of globalization and European empire-building.
By playing the game students will learn about some of the most important explorers, their discoveries, and the spices which they brought back to Europe.
The main aim of the game is to find your way to the Spice Islands in the Far East. There are several key islands, each with a different spice (cloves, nutmeg, pepper, sandalwood and cinnamon). Obtain each of these, then sail back home to England to complete your mission.
Suggested Lesson Plan
The simulation could be set as a homework exercise, but I prefer playing it in classroom time over several lessons (students can ‘save progress’ at the end of each session so they can pick up where they left off). It contains a wealth of information to keep them busy for several hours, although you could direct students to complete particular tasks if you have less time.
Read the introductory screen to the whole class and stress that they will need to provide their name for the ‘leaderboard’ (which serves the same purpose as a live markbook).
Bring up a copy of the student worksheet on the screen and draw their attention to:
1. The outline map. They should make sure they plot their progress on this with details of the places they discover. This will be invaluable to help them find their way around.
2. The video task. Stress that at regular intervals of 5 minutes or so, a fresh video clip will be presented to them (there are five of these, one for each of the five main spices) and that these will need to be watched in order to complete the worksheet.
3. The explorers task. 10 key locations (highlighted in green on the teacher version of the map) will contain information about explorers and their discoveries. These should be used to complete this part of the worksheet.
From my experience, it is a good idea to allow students one lesson to simply focus on the mapping and the video notes, and another lesson or homework to play again with particular focus on the “explorers” task.
How to complete the game
Although you should try to avoid giving too much away, if students start to get frustrated or need some assistance, you can obtain detailed Teacher Notes which explains clearly how to finish the game, as well as completed answers to the main tasks.
At the time of writing (October 2019) I am trying the game out with my own students. I will be udpating this page in the coming weeks with further resources and follow-up tasks based on my experiences.