Monday, 5 November 2012

Plague Inc Evolution.

Well I am sitting in my Biology class again and today I have 6 of the 7 students that were here on Friday, the others are sitting another Maths exam. Of the 7 students that were here 5 went home and bought the game and have been playing it over the weekend. As I write this they are trying to kill the world with their various plagues on 3 different devices.

We had a brief discussion about the selection pressures on their plagues and decided that there were 3. The pressure to spread, the pressure to kill and the pressure of cure. If any of these imbalances the whole thing can collapse. So over time as the plague you need to evolve to stay on top of these changing pressures. This is evolution, now the timeline on this simulation is small in terms of evolutionary time scale, but when you compare the reproductive rates it make sense in terms of human evolution.

And so they began, they are trying to compete with eachother to see who can kill the most and the quickest. 1 group has already been discovered, while the others are trying to hide as much as possible before getting spotted.

So by then end of todays lesson I am going to get the students to write a small report on what they learned by playing this game, no matter how minor. I am wondering how easy it would be to 'script' simulations and also whether there would be benefit in that, or whether the idea of justifying each decision in terms of evolution and selective pressures would be best.

Still in class, and each group has completed one game, only 1 group was successful in eradicating humanity. For the second game I am making them write a justification for each decision they make in the game so that we can tie it to the selective pressure they are responding to.

Class is coming to an end, and I have got to say I would do this again. Getting the students to justify their strategies and what decisions they make has been very powerful, and I think that the discussions that are going to come from the notes they took are going to allow the students to build a great understanding of the theory of evolution.

One very scary quote to finish from a young lady in my class. "It's too late, you're already dead"

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