This week, I have been playing a lot of Spore. Purely for educational reasons I can assure you 🙂 OK, I’m playing it as a game geek – but I think there is some potential there for some use in the classroom.

A long time ago, I remember a colleague of mine using Sim Life in the classroom to introduce the idea of adaptation and survival. It wasn’t the most sophisticated game by todays standards, but was kinda fun.

Spore takes all this to a whole new level. The game itself has been sold as an “evolution game” but to be honest it’s not really evolution. The fact that you are in control of designing your creature through a lot of the game and can add and remove body parts at will makes it more “Intelligent Design in a Can”

I’m currently in the Space stage of the game, having taken my mini-cellular creature all the way into space. This stage is taking ages to play and there’s no way it could be done in the classroom.

The aspect of the game that could be useful in class could be the Creature Creator. You can download a standalone version of this for a £5 or a trial version of this for free.

The creature creator lets you design different animals which you can then put into your world. It would be good to ask pupils to design a herbivore – or the perfect carnivore. Design an animal for a hot climate or a cold climate etc. They could then take a screenshot, paste into a word processor/presentation tool and explain why they designed it the way they did. What features make it a good herbivore/carnivore etc.

I haven’t used this in the classroom myself, but I have heard of some teachers who have been trying this out. If you have, please leave a comment.

In the meantime, here’s a little widget that shows you all my Spore creations.

I’ve been messing about trying to recreate the Starship Enterprise and an X-Wing fighter. Battlestar Galatica is more of a challenge 🙂 Here’s my Spore profile page.