Simulations are "a staged replication of an event or concept through the manipulation of the classroom to enhance the students' understanding of the nature of a given concept or event" (Sisk, 597). Simulations are used in businesses, the military, and higher education. Their potential in k-12 programs has only grown as more games and computer-based programs become available.
Simulations meet all five of the essential factors that Van Tassel-Baska and Little (2003) suggest that educators keep in mind when assessing curriculum for gifted students:
Simulations are highly motivating and allow gifted students to learn how to make more intelligent decisions about life. Some of the processes employed in simulations include interactive negotiation, persuasive communication, decision making, and creative problem solving. It is very important that the students participate in a "debriefing" or "reflection" after the simulation is complete. This part of the process allows students to think deeply about what they have learned and how they can apply it to the real world.
Here are some advantages of simulation games:
- active involvement
- chance to take risks in a safe environment
- builds cohesive classroom community
- change of learning pace
- opportunities to practice
- employs social construction of knowledge
- communication skills
- expands relationships
- encourages empathy
- uses prior knowledge
- simplifies complicated problems (this could be a disadvantage as well)
- blends theory and strategy
- students can make/act on their own choices
Sisk, D. (2009). Teaching Through Simulation and Gaming for the Gifted. In Bean, S. (PhD) & Karnes, F. (PhD),Methods and Materials for Teaching the Gifted. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press Inc.