Friday, August 29, 2014

Classroom Activity: Maps and Setting

Once I have taught my middle school students the basics of a D&D 5th ed / d20 rules set, given them practice generating characters, had them play a few sessions, and had them reflect on different points of view and bias in narrative, I want to move them on to thinking more about game settings.

by Donato Giancola (c) 2001 Wizards of the Coast

Unit Two: Creating a Setting

Key Unit Objective: Students will extend their knowledge of geographic tools by generating maps and map keys

Sub-Objectives for this lesson:
  • Students will practice reading a map key and interpreting maps
  • Students will practice reading informational text and using charts

Activity 1: Read and evaluate a short, prefabricated, pre-stocked, map-based adventure setting 
(e.g. Haunted Keep from Moldvay B/X)
  • assessment: 3x5 reflection


  • Distribute one copy of prefab per student
  • start with whole group read-aloud with think-aloud
  • transition to pairs  
  • Pairs answer questions
    • “What is the best part of this setting and why?”  
    • “What would make it more interesting or fun to play?”
    • “What is innovative about the setting? -- you've never seen it before.”
    • “What plot hook was used to involve characters in the action and what other plot hooks can you think of that might fit?”
    • “Is this setting best suited for beginner or expert characters and why do you think so?”
  • Share some answers whole-group
  • Reflective writing prompt: Evaluate the setting that we looked at in class today. Would it be interesting and exciting to explore? How could it be improved?

Later activities / lessons in this unit will move toward having students create their own maps!