Basically the World of Goo wants you to build a structure to enable little chattering goo balls to be able to reach a pipe. You need enough goo balls to go into the pipe so that you can go on to the next stage of the game. It's very inventive because each stage is a bit different and hence requires deeper/different thinking to solve the problem of how to get the goo into the pipe! They keep adding new elements...whistling, balloons, motion....etc etc
I love the game that's shown in the image below. This requires you to create motion! You need to attach the balloons to the structure on the left to make it airborne, you then need to work out that it has to move somehow to get to the other side so that it can pick up the goo balls that are asleep! Once the structure is airborne you need to take a balloon off and quickly re-attach it to create a circular motion that'll make it move! Once you've done this enough times to get to the other side, you then need to take the balloons off so that the structure will go down (don't bin the balloons...love and cherish them.. ). The goo balls then attach themselves happily and after that you need to re-attach the balloons (even more of them because it's now heavier), do the circular motion thing to the middle, take off balloons so that it sinks down to the pipe that takes the goo balls...! Wow! Took me ages...I figure that if I am learning how to think from this game then the impact will be huge on the children!
Back to the ICT suite....as they explored I walked round the suite and tried to talk in 'maths problem solving' language to help them work out what to do. I'd told them the basics - goo needs to get to a pipe via a structure that you need to build - some children needed a little help to get the idea and then they were off!
What's the clue? How do you need to think about 'xyz' to help you solve the problem?
What do you need to do differently this time to try to solve the problem?
Why didn't your idea work last time? What could you do differently next time?...etc
Afterwards I talked about why I'd let them play a game in their ICT time- that solving maths problems is all about thinking... What are the clues? What kind of maths do you need to do to solve this problem? If you read a problem and it doesn't make sense then is there a different way of thinking about it that could help you?..etc - so that they understand why they are doing this. Next week I plan on having a Goo session followed by a problem solving session in maths to start to evaluate my idea that this will help their understanding of how to think to solve maths problems.
Be aware that the 'undo' function creates a flash - might not be suitable for all...we had to check it out with a parent...
If you google 'World of Goo recommended age' you'll see it's an 'E' game. On amazon it's got a PEGI rathing of 3 which means it's suitable for all ages. One I found recommended that it was for children over 6, some recommend that older children will get more out of it and I agree as it gets more difficult as it goes on. I think the 'summer' section is suitable for my class as it's not too hard and that they will understand how to develop their thinking into other things from it.
It's early days yet but I plan on relating their 'games based learning' thinking to their maths lessons and evaluating the impact. If I get it right then I think it will be a great help! I am also hoping it will help develop their memories. Once you've learnt what to do in a particular game it helps if you remember what you did the next time.... as with maths problems! A very current, enjoyable medium to develop thinking skills and learn about how to 'think outside the box' to solve problems!