Turning School Into a Piece of Cake

The Bozeman Trail is a game within the BRAVE series: a game-based, cross-curricular approach to social studies that engages & inspires students to push the boundaries of who they are. What began as a single board game over a decade ago has evolved into something more insightful with every go. Students may think they’re just having fun when they play a BRAVE game, but teachers will watch, amazed, as students seamlessly & systemically fold additional narratives into traditional U.S. History. How does it work?

CROSS-CURRICULAR An important thing to know is BRAVE games are integrated & applicable. Gaming is structured by the NGSS 3D Learning Framework and aligned to meet ELA, social studies, C3 & American Indian Education (WY & MT).

ENGAGE & INSPIRE Gamifying the past ignites the competitive spirit. I’m not talking about extrinsic motivation, i.e., points & badges. I’m referring to players wanting to scour the content until they’ve found their competitive advantage. This is intrinsic motivation, which is based on a learner’s need for 1) relatedness, 2) autonomy, 3) competency. But just when players think they’ve mastered a game, BRAVE demands collaboration. Because win/win outcomes demand more: more knowledge, tenacity, and flexibility. Interestingly, R&D showed kids on the fringe excel at BRAVE, but not to the exclusion of others. Imagine…

GAME THEORY is a branch of mathematics that defined Prisoner’s Dilemma, the idea that competing parties can collaborate within a set of pre-determined constraints to minimize losses. Heralded by economists, Game Theory now coordinates maximum efficiency across supply chains. BRAVE takes a different path, since I wasn’t raised by an economist, but by an optimist who knew there’s more to life than money. So how do competing agents engage? First, everyone must play from their place of power. Yet, our greatest strengths often emerge—and this is key—in our darkest hour. The moment we learned to take a deep breath. To listen. To persevere.

Charles Dickens said, “It’s in vain to recall the past, unless it works some influence upon the present.” Likewise, BRAVE rejects the idea that we should be ashamed (or proud) of ourselves. Instead, we capitalize on the sum of our experiences to become the best possible version of ourselves TODAY. Then we’ll give it another go again, tomorrow. Are YOU brave?

From board game to online interactive game. You can now play the online version of the Bozeman Trail game by clicking the image below!

bozeman trail square icon

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *