Social Media games can be time consuming and very addicting, however troublesome if you get to caught up. Well, this year I got into a game for my first time and immediately saw how it could impact the classroom in a powerful way. Tap Zoo is a virtual zoo application that allows a player to grow his/her own zoo. The player will manage the animals placed in the zoo and have the opportunity to collect revenue for each animal and revenue generating object used to enhance the decode of the zoo environment. Some animals generate more revenue than others so how you spend your money and calculate your profit determines the success of your zoo.
What I did was download the app to my iPad and found an animal buying guide (http://tapzooguide.com/animals) to post to a Google Doc to create a discussion board. Then we held a discussion surrounding the guide about profit. We looked at the animals in each level that would allow us to make our investment back the quickest. Then we developed a strategy and timetable for making our purchases. Then I let the kids grow the zoo. The students used Google docs to collaborate on ideas and document the expansion of the zoo. As a class they decided on who the buyers would be, who would be in charge of breeding, who would cross-breeding (mixing of the animals to create more exotic creatures and sometimes highly profitable) and finally they chose designers who would be responsible for not only the upkeep of the zoo (you have to clean the zoo), but would also try to make the zoo look good.
This idea worked so well to improve the higher order thinking skills of my students that I plan to implement this again. However, this time, I may set up a few iPads and have team zoos and let the students compete…maybe. Just thought I would share.