Biology & Geology: Levels of Mastery

Authors: Inés Naya & Jenny Lythaby (Colegio Internacional Eirís, A Coruña – Spain)

To engage students during the Covid-19 crisis we created a badge earning system for the remaining part of the term.

This event started on March 13th with the school closure in Spain and will continue until the end of the school year. Continuous improvements were being made to adapt to the changing circumstances of the pandemic.

Activity: students have to earn points and level up their badges until they master the contents of the units by completing different types of quests.

There is a badge for each unit and a final badge certifying their achievement in all units.

How does it work?

The final badges that they can obtain at the end of the event.

There are different levels of mastery in each unit.

The students start as a Candidate and level up as they earn points until they reach the Master level (Maximum level for each unit).

All unit points are added up to see if they achieve the Earth’s System Expert Badge (they have worked with the biosphere in a previous term so it is not included here as part of the badges system).

The level-up badges system

To earn points, they have to complete 3 quests in each unit.

Each quest earns them a maximum of 100pts and at the end of the lesson they can obtain up to 300pts in the unit.

In order to be able to complete Quest 1 (Socrative Quiz) and Quest 2 (Project), they first have to follow the Unit Guide to learn the concepts of the lesson and prove that they went through the lesson by UPLOADING a series of PREREQUISITE exercises to a Google Form.

If they get at least 50pts in Quest 1 AND at least 50pts in Quest 2 they gain the right to tackle Quest 3 (Challenge).

About the quests

Projects (Quest 2) include doing a Mineral Treasure Hunt around their homes to learn about the minerals used to make everyday objects around the house and creating a video explaining their findings or creating a video tutorial explaining the water cycle.

Challenges (Quest 3) are special activities that will let them think about what they have learned while practicing their reasoning and practical skills.

They have to find a geological map and look up the rocks found in their home areas, find the explanations to everyday enigmas related to changes in the state of water, or find a way to fill up a balloon located at the mouth of an empty bottle with water to learn about air pressure.

Screen capture of one of the sections of the site where students have all of the information.

By the end of May, the Ultimate Challenge is revealed, and they will be able to earn additional points to help them get their badges.

The Ultimate challenge consists in creating a virtual exhibition about the impacts of humans on the Earth’s systems using augmented reality (with the help of Assemblr). All students must collaborate to create the exhibition.

How did we do it?

In order to do all this, we created a private Google site explaining everything. In the site, they can also upload their work and follow their progress.

We also automated most processes so that students can receive feedback on their progress as soon as possible (at least on the state of the work they have completed, what is still pending, and their quiz results) and created a system that makes it easy for teachers to see the new work that has been uploaded and review it easily). We did that by using both Google forms and Google sheets that communicate with each other.

We believe that creating a system that can keep the students effectively informed about their progress, short term goals and give them feedback continuously is a key factor in maintaining motivation both at school or now in the remote classroom.

The gamification factor of having to level up their badges also promotes student engagement and participation.