Bill MacKenty

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Getting to Z: part 2

Posted in Games in education on 02 - February 2006 at 10:12 PM (18 years ago). 202 views.

This is the formal lesson plan I submitted to my administrator. It’s probably worth noting I’ve spoken at length with our math teacher, who is very curious about this. I’ve also connected with parents and gotten their permission.

The conversation and issues raised with the wizcore on the MUSH is worth an entry of it’s own!


Getting to Z. Text-based multiplayer games and the 3-dimensional cartesian coordinate plane.


This lesson is designed for grades 7 and 8 (ages 13 and 14). This lesson is currently designed for small groups (no more than 5 students).


This lesson is designed to last 2 months, meeting once a week for about 40 minutes.


ISTE Tech Standards

Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.

Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works.

Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.

Students employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world

National (NCTM) and Massachusetts State Mathematics Standards

Using ordered pairs of whole numbers (including zero), graph, locate, and identify points, and describe paths on the Cartesian coordinate plane

Specify locations and describe spatial relationships using coordinate geometry and other representational systems

Analyze properties and determine attributes of two- and three-dimensional objects

Use Cartesian coordinates and other coordinate systems, such as navigational, polar, or spherical systems, to analyze geometric situations

Investigate conjectures and solve problems involving two- and three-dimensional objects represented with Cartesian coordinates

Draw and construct representations of two- and three-dimensional geometric objects using a variety of tools

Visualize three-dimensional objects and spaces from different perspectives and analyze their cross sections


Bill MacKenty, M.Ed. Edgartown School


Students will play an online text-based multiplayer game. They will create a character in this game world, and take on the role of captaining a ship. In this context, as the captain of a starship in the Star Trek universe, the players will navigate through a text-based, 3-dimensional universe. For the curious, they will be using a derivative a-space system called ParadoxSpace.

There are no graphics, sounds, or graphical-user-interface. The entire lens through which students experience this game world will be textual.

It is in this interesting milieu students will understand and play inside the coordinate plane. They will successfully pilot a ship through the X Y and Z plane, dock with planets and starbases, avoid obstacles, and perhaps even engage an opponent! They will not be able to succeed in these tasks unless they understand X Y and Z.

[Major Understandings]

Students should learn:

To articulate the position of X Y and Z on a cartesian coordinate plane.

To plot a line from one area on a cartesian coordinate plane to another area, considering potential obstacles.

To apply knowledge of 3D cartesian coordinate plane to a theoretical/imaginary space and maneuver in this space.

[Essential questions]

What does XY and Z describe on a cartesian coordinate plane?

Apply your knowledge of XY and Z to our text based multiplayer game. How is knowing about XYZ helpful?

What jobs might require a good knowledge of X,Y and Z? How?

[Assessment Evidence]

What is the evidence that students have learned the standard?

1. Self-assessment. Students will rate their understanding.
2. Pre/post test in X,Y and Z.
3. Successfully navigate and engage an opponent in 3D cartesian space

[Learning Activities]

Teaching and learning experiences to develop and demonstrate desired understandings.

The majority of this activity will involve playing in a text-based multiplayer game.

There will be 4 major stages of instruction:

1) Introduction to text-based games, connecting, moving, talking, posing. Rules.
2) Connection to the MUSH and engaging in character generation
3) Introduction to aspace (this will be a major component of instruction)
4) Continuing familiarity with aspace concluding with the mother of all space battles!