Educators from 4 counties and 2 states participated in a fantastic training that shared this engaging way to teach students 4th grade through 9th grade about US History.
The workshop was a great way to learn about the resources, but worry not: everything you need to get your students started on these history adventures can be found on this page! Recorded highlights of the workshop coming soon…
So What Is It?
MISSION US is a multimedia project that immerses players in U.S. history content through free interactive games. Past missions include
In Mission 1: “For Crown or Colony?” puts players in the shoes of Nat Wheeler, a printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston. They encounter both Patriots and Loyalists, and when rising tensions result in the Boston Massacre, they must choose where their loyalties lie.
In Mission 2: “Flight to Freedom,” players take on the role of Lucy, a 14-year-old slave in Kentucky. As they navigate her escape and journey to Ohio, they discover that life in the “free” North is dangerous and difficult. In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act brings disaster. Will Lucy ever truly be free?
In Mission 3 (Release date… October 16th, 2013): “A Cheyenne Odyssey” focuses on Westward Expansion from the perspective of one Plains Indian tribe. The player is Little Fox, a Northern Cheyenne boy whose life is changed by the encroachment of white settlers, railroad builders, and U.S. military expeditions. As the buffalo herds diminish and the U.S. government enforces the reservation system, players will learn about the persistence of the Cheyenne tribe amid national transformations at the end of the 19th century.
To get started on your journey: step into the world of Mission US: mission-us.org.
Florida Parks History
Florida is incredibly rich in history… as you know! No matter the issue faced in the United States, similar or overlapping historical events have unfolded on our surrounding lands. As part of our special MISSION US training, WFSU was delighted to welcome Peter Scalco, the Park Manager at Wakulla Springs State Park. Please take a moment to look at the incredible array of history available to you and your students in his PowerPoint presentation, "History in Florida State Parks."
Please consider using our beautiful state parks with your students! For more information about each state park, please visit: www.floridastateparks.org.
Members of our workshop training party were able to take part in a very special Wakulla Springs River Boat Tour as part of the workshop activities. The river tour is at Wakulla Springs State Park and is available to teachers and their students throughout the school year. It is a delightful way to discover not only the natural wonders of Florida, but to enjoy land that has supported human activity for hundreds of thousands of years!
Perspectives Host Tom Flanigan with Kim Kelling & Guests
WFSU, extended the ideas brought forth in this workshop, in a production of WFSU-FM’s local program of Perspecitives. Download Perspectives: Technology & Teaching.
Chalkboards have become smart boards; composition books have given way to iPads. Technology is remaking our classrooms and the way kids are learning. Guests include Chris Czajka, director of WNET New York’s LAB@Thirteen Educational Materials Project, Astoria Park Elementary Teacher Brian Lassiter, and Florida State University Educational Researcher Dr. Fengfeng Ke.
WFSU wishes to thank WNET and Chris Czajka, director of WNET New York’s LAB@Thirteen for the generous funding that supported the workshop, field experience, and on-going support for educators that are using the MISSION US project with their students. Please check back to this site for upadated information about how teachers are using this with their students!
Have a look at what people are currently saying about Mission US:
Common Sense Media – 5 out of 5 stars
“powerful and compelling”
Mission US: Flight to Freedom is a powerful and compelling game that forces you to make difficult decisions, just as in real life. This is a strong title that can make history come alive. ... This is not a frivolous edutainment title. This innovative game is designed to get you thinking and talking about challenging subjects, while learning more about American history. It's a good one to explore and discuss as a family.
Jay is Games – Mission US: Flight to Freedom
“an intelligent, thought-provoking work” “highly recommended”
Happily, though, Flight to Freedom succeeds where others have failed, delivering an engaging and well-crafted peak [sic] into American history… Overall, Flight to Freedom is an intelligent, thought-provoking work that should prove a treat to both its student audience, and anyone with a passing interest in history. Highly recommended!
School Library Journal – “Media Mix: ‘Flight to Freedom’ for Black History Month”
The game is educational, fun, and will definitely hold the attention of students in grades 5 to 8.
eSchool News – “Mission US: A Revolutionary Way to Learn History”
Featured Site of the Week
History Tech blog – “Flight to Freedom – Awesome History Learning Simulation”
“fun and innovative” “not just any video game. A great video game.”
Okay. Let’s call it what it really is. It’s a video game. Hopefully we’ve all gotten past the “Is it okay to play video games in history class?” debate. (If you still need some convincing, head here for some handy research.) So . . . yes, Mission US: Flight to Freedom is a video game. And not just any video game. A great video game.
Ground Control Parenting – “Mission U.S.: Helping Middle Schoolers Enjoy Learning American History”
A game to teach middle schoolers about slavery? Could be cringe-worthy; I had to try it. I enlisted my 7th grade son to play it with me, and off we went into the world of Lucy the slave. Two minutes in, we were hooked.
Florida Thinkfinity – Jeanne Rogers (teacher): “Head to Mission Us, bookmark it, and return often. You won’t be disappointed!”
Living is Learning – “Mission US Convinced me that Gaming Has a Place in the Classroom”
I have used parts of it in 7th grade Social Studies class for several years now and have been consistently impressed by the quality of the content and support materials… My students were very engaged by the game and often played it on their own at home and/or play it multiple times. They identified with the characters and had a much better understanding of the events that they “experienced” in the game. This, combined with the quality of the content, has convinced me that gaming can (and will?) have a place in education.