Have you ever thought of the potential for Pokemon GO teaching ideas? By now, you know that Pokemon GO is kind of a big deal with kids. We recently found out firsthand just how big.
First day of the term, we were in a school in Australia. Suddenly the classrooms emptied into the halls, but there was no bell. It was like everyone had to use the bathroom at the same time, but actually they all knew there was a Pikachu loose in the school. If only they were this engaged in class!
Well, they could be—why not bring Pokemon GO teaching ideas into your own class?
What is Pokemon GO?
Using Pokemon GO in the classroom may seem like a strange idea at first. But let’s stop and think of the possibilities with Pokemon GO teaching ideas for a minute. The best way to do that is to first understand exactly how Pokemon GO works. If you want to go back even further, here’s a great guide to understanding the Pokemon universe itself.
Pokemon GO is an augmented reality game that uses data from Google Maps to turn your surroundings into a Pokemon landscape. Your real geographic location is enhanced by the app, including landmarks that can become important destinations in the gameplay.
The game uses your phone’s GPS tracking to zero in on your location. The Pokemon—which are literally all around you—will change depending on where you are in the world. That means the gameplay will also be affected by topography and weather. It then automatically builds the game world on your screen using Google Maps data. (If that sounds sinister, don’t worry. There are things you can do to keep yourself and your kids safe while playing.)
Connect With Pokemon GO Teaching Ideas
You may already be seeing some possibilities for Pokemon GO teaching ideas based on this alone. We’re going to add to them below with a bunch of others. Let’s look at some of the ways we can teach using this wildly popular game. You’ll see that many of these ideas are also cross-curricular in nature.
English Language Arts
- Pokemon Prose—Tell the story of a Pokemon’s life up until you captured it. Students can also write a fictional adventure based on local or geographical locations (Poke-stops) the game uses.
- Breaking News—Write your own article about the Pokemon GO craze. It can also be an article of tips and tricks for first-time players of the game.
- Character Design—Imagine what your own Pokemon GO character would be like. How would it look? What would its name and history be? How does it relate to other characters in the game?
- Opinion Piece—What do you think of the rumours, myths, and debate surrounding Pokemon GO? Rationalize your opinion in an article or essay and take your stand either for or against using the game in classrooms.
- Try a Tournament—Design flyers and posters or website articles announcing a tournament in your school. Establish daily/weekly goals and a prize system. Post breaking news and the progress of the players on a webpage.
- Back to Basics—Imagine that cell phones stopped working, or that you want to teach Pokemon to Year 1–2 kids. How could you make the game without technology? (Hint: They have that—they’re called cards!)
- Poke-Promo—Create your own video, poster, or infographic that advertises Pokemon GO and explains how to play it.
- Super Spreadsheets—Students can practice spreadsheet skills by recording and organizing all their Pokemon GO data. Numbers, Google Sheets, or Airtable are good for this.
- Health Break—Check the height and weight of Pokemon GO characters in the app, and then use this to calculate things like BMI. Another activity is estimating the amount of time spent trying to catch a Pokemon, and then determining calories burned based on the student’s height and weight.
- What are the Chances?—Have students calculate the probability of Pokemon appearances. For example, students could fraction out how many Pokemon appear within a certain timeframe or distance.
- Pokemon Percentages—What are the percentages of appearance across all the Pokemon characters? Figure out how frequently they appear and create graphs or charts that also tie to geographical locations.
- Go the Distance—Calculate distances travelled and average distances while playing the game. Create distance predictions for future game days based on the collected data.
- Vectors and Areas—Create vector and area calculation problems based on gameplay. How can students use vectors to catch a Pokemon, or determine the surface areas in which they live?
- Money Moments—Use Pokemon GO to teach financial literacy. Assign a value to each character and calculate daily, weekly, and monthly totals and averages for caught Pokemon. You can also teach financial literacy in regards to mobile plans and what data limitations they have.
Social Studies and Geography
- Geography Jog—Have students create a “travel journal” around their city as they play the game. List some of the main attractions of the community for first-time players who may be visiting. Google Lit Trips works well for this.
- Mindful Mapping—Ask students to create a map of the area around the school, or the shortest way to a landmark destination that is used as one of the game’s Poke-stops. They can also map out walking routes containing key points they want to explore looking for characters.
- Coming Together—Write about how Pokemon GO connects people and cultures with a common interest. Students can also consider why the Poke-stops in your area were chosen, and what’s unique or interesting about them.
- Pokemon GO Around the World—Remember how the game uses GPS tracking and that it changes according to location? Have kids look into how the game is being played by other cultures in other parts of the world? What’s the same, and what’s different? What famous global locations are also Poke-stops?
- Suggest a Stop—Consider what you think would be a good Pokemon GO Poke-stop in your area. Write a proposal for it detailing why you think it should be considered.
- Pokemon Evolution—Since the Pokemon can evolve, use them to explain the theory. Have students predict and design their own evolutionary timeline for a Pokemon.
- Wild Things—Create a study of a Pokemon in its own in-game habitat. Consider things like diet, and how it has evolved to adapt to its environment.
- Nature Study—Pokemon GO is known for getting people outdoors. Explore the world around you in all its natural beauty as you play the game.
- Bio-Verse—Create a presentation explaining the ecosystem in which Pokemon live and evolve throughout the game.
- Reality Bytes—Using Pokemon GO, explain the concept of augmented reality. What other games and apps use this kind of technology? How will future versions of the game use this or other technologies?
- Safety First—Produce a public video explaining how players can stay safe while playing the game. Include road safety and information about the potential danger of luring or “cyber-stalking.”
- Data Depot—Create an online database that features important information on all the Pokemon characters in the game. Other players can access it for reference.
- Branching Off—Design an add-on or a spinoff version of the game with your own unique features, areas, and characters.
- Sound Advice—Use your favourite music program to develop a soundtrack that could accompany gameplay.
- Pokemon Podcast—Students can create an original podcast and invite players from their school to participate in discussions about the game.
- Caring and Sharing—Kids can take screenshots of their gameplay and create blogs about them for other players. This is also a good time to introduce kids to the idea of Creative Commons licensing so the images can be used by others fairly.