Sonoma County Office of Education

21st Century Learning

Game Based Learning at the Pacific Coast Air Museum

Author: Matt O'Donnell Anna Van Dordrecht
Published: 06.19.17

On June 6th, fifty seven educators from Sonoma County visited the Pacific Coast Air Museum as part of the 21st Century Summer Institute hosted by the Sonoma County Office of Education. The teachers were engaged in a week of learning and designing focused on creating a climate of possibility in classrooms and schools by incorporating creativity, innovation, and student voice. To kick off the week, the participants competed in teams to win a scavenger hunt at the museum.

The goal of the scavenger hunt was three fold. First, it was a way for participants to get to know each other while working towards a common purpose. Second, it provided teachers with an example of how to creatively welcome and engage students. Finally, the app used for the hunt is a tool that teachers can use in their own contexts, and this experience gave them exposure and experience.

We used an app called Action Bound to design the scavenger hunt. The app works with iPhones and Androids and allowed participants to answer questions and scan QR codes we placed throughout the museum.  Many of the questions were based around historical facts or airplane specs where participants had to find the aircraft and enter the tail number into the app.  The app also allowed us to show pictures of markings on planes whereas the teams would have to located the airplane with those markings.

The Pacific Coast Air Museum was an ideal site to use Action Bound. We were able to incorporate the history of the planes, their unique markings, and the information from the signs. For example, one of the questions required participants to locate a plane with the nickname “Phantom” based on a musical clue from the score of Phantom of the Opera and record its tail numbers from it as an answer. The museum also had the space for interactive challenges. Participants had to complete a paper airplane challenge, tweet out pictures, and find clues to open a locked box.

The winning team answered all seventeen questions and opened the locked box in forty three minutes. All participants enjoyed the opportunity to explore the museum and learn about the planes in a fun, competitive way, and they were able to see the potential of this type of activity for engaging and empowering students in their learning. We are very grateful for the generosity of the Pacific Coast Air Museum and the dedication and hospitality of its staff to the education community of Sonoma County.

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