Let us tell you a story … about the Unplugged Universe!
Updated: Oct 6, 2022
The Unplugged consortium has now brought to life its ideas for gamified activities in designing 25 interconnected and yet independent unplugged quests, games, experiments and challenges, each serving both to pedagogical and playful objectives.
Read through abstracts of the Unplugged Gamebook (coming soon), which binds together the story line of the Unplugged quest, its pedagogical commitment and rewarding system.
Read, watch and listen carefully …
Feather is a rainbow bird that travels the world and symbolized the harmony of living creatures. Seeing planet Earth being polluted and societies moving towards anger, his despair caused him to lose his feathers and he disappeared. To help him fly and travel the world again, you have the mission to reflect on how to make the world a better place across 4 territories: Roaming across the Peaceful Island and becoming a concerned citizen, Explore the streets of the Strong Community City for building collective and harmonious societies, Navigate across the Crazy bayou while preserving natural ecosystems And use your imagination within the Fantastic Factory for reshaping a better world. Let’s find Feather colours back!
Get onboard - Welcome to the Unplugged Universe
Feather is a rainbow bird who spent his life travelling the world and flying over beautiful lands. His colours represented harmony and gave hope and joy to the living creatures. But step by step, the earth turned crazy. It was always too warm or too cold, and the air became toxic. For every issue encountered, the majestic bird lost a feather. He was never able to recover them as Earth had become too dangerous to land on. Overwhelmed with fatigue and despair, Feather called out to humans for help before disappearing. To fly again and give back its beauty to the world, the little bird asked brave adventurers to search for his lost feathers.
"To help me through this quest, you will have to be smart and volunteer. You will explore the four territories where my feathers were lost. Fix what is wrong in those countries. Bring me back the four feathers so I can go back to my mission: flying across the world making the eyes and minds of living creatures shine again.
Good luck my adventurers! One last piece of advice: open your heart, unlock your imagination and free up your brain. Come back soon, I am waiting for you."
Explore the Onboarding quests
Learning to express an opinion, overcoming pre-conceived notions in the classroom
The game fosters children’s emotional development, learning to express their opinions and respect for others’ views and feelings. A player draws a card, describing a situation and reads it out loud to the others. Then, all players express with an emoji card face down whether they like, dislike or love the situation described. All players turn over the emoji cards at the same time and discuss without judgment to each other's feelings..
Unleashing kids creativity through discussions
The game is played in two rounds, fostering brainstorming about today’s challenges and their possible solutions. In the first round, the game master chooses a topic. Planet earth, for example. The teams have one minute to find as many words as they can related to it. In the second round, the teams find ideas to solve a problem. How to avoid global warming for example. The teams have two minute to find as many ideas they can to solve the problem.
Understanding computational processes and binary counting Children learn to count like a computer (using the binary number system) offline. The binary number system is a base-2 one. An understanding of binary numbers, the binary system, and how to convert between binary and decimal is essential for anyone involved in computers, coding, and networking.
Learning to express yourself with logic and comprehensibility Interacting with robots will become common in the future. To speak to a machine you need to give very clear orders. This game trains children in providing clear orders to a machine using only numbers and directions. The teacher draws a table on the ground. One player is the game leader who gives instructions to the robots. The other players are the robots. To win the game, the game leader needs to place the robots correctly on the table to match a preset figure from a card.
Programming a choreography
Understanding programming through tunes
The game fosters learning programming on Scratch without using a computer! Scratch is a computer program that allows children to create digital stories, games and animations. Children from the one team create their own set of blocks from available cards in order to code a choreography which needs to be played by the other team.
First territory - Explore the Peaceful Island
Have you seen Feather the bird? Approach the basics of citizenship, inclusion and equity!
“Well, the last time I saw him was a while ago. He tried to land to sing but people were annoyed, too busy with their own problems. A man waved him away and a little girl threw a stone at him. Sad, he left his yellow and orange feathers fall from his tail. Since then, things have gotten worse and worse. To find the feather, get to know yourself, work on your own emotions and make peace with the outer world, otherwise, your quest is in vain.”
Explore the quests of the Peaceful Island
Poverty-free game collection
Fostering creativity while discussing access to leisure activities for all
People from poorer backgrounds are often excluded from social life, just because they cannot afford to join such activities. Players in this quest are asked to create in teams a game out of objects within the classroom, play and assess it.
Overcoming gender stereotypes
The “Equal Game” offers the opportunity to reflect and learn about equality and gender stereotypes through the disruption of gender bias associated to jobs and working roles. This game is based on a series of challenges whose aim is to get children to guess professions through description, mime and drawings. The game has three regular rounds plus an extra one. Players are divided in teams that compete in the achievement of the higher score. During the regular rounds each team pick a card in the deck and in turn read (for the round 1), mime (for the round 2) and draw (for the round 3) the profession/object written on the card under the label “Round 1”, “Round 2” and “Round 3”. During the extra round the teacher turns the spinner over and each team has 30 sec to associate the job indicated on its card with the name of a character from History, video games, cartoons, films or books, depending on what is instructed by the spinner. The game allows discovering different professions and it leads to discussion of fun facts and gender stereotypes related to these professions.
Cookies and Peace
Understanding sustainable food systems
The game gives children a feel for inequality in terms of the distribution of resources and emphasizes on the importance of establishing a sustainable and equal world. Participants work in groups to bake successfully their cookies. What they do not know is that each group will be allocated a different set of resources to accomplish this task. Whilst some groups will have too much of certain ingredients, others will not have enough, or will not have any of these ingredients.
Peace Magic Grid
Unplugged programming challenge on parity check
Children are presented grids and are explained the principles of parity check. They are given the task to discover a message hidden in the gird by performing the demonstrated parity check and correcting respective errors. Reflection on the message and an interactive discussion then take place to relate it to toady's world challenges..
Clay and Sculpture
Expressing, interpreting and understanding one’s own and others’ feelings
The game supports children in identifying, expressing and managing their feelings and emotions and interpreting the ones of the others. Players divide in pairs: one player acts as the modeling clay and the other - as Michelangelo who sets the modeling clay’s body position to express a certain feeling, e.g.: fear, joy, tension, despair, etc. The clay person does not know which feeling the sculptor is modelling and guesses it, providing feedback on the feeling the position provokes..
Confronting children with the need for inclusiveness. Geometry and abstraction
This is a game of modeling complex shapes with basic ones through communication and cooperation in teams. The goal of the teams is to fill in a complex shape to the best possible way without going beyond their outlines with simple shapes players have available. Winners are selected following a group vote..
Second territory - Explore the Strong Community
Reflecting on ourselves is a personal journey, however finding harmony in the community is a collective challenge!
“The last time he crossed the country was during a big demonstration, riots broke out, and the police and the army were there too. Frightened by all this noise, the bird could not land and continued on its way, dropping his blue feather. To find it, you will first have to calm down the angry spirits and find ways to make humans live together.”
Fostering logics, illustrating chemistry
The game takes place in a chemistry laboratory, with test tubes, formulas and chemical elements. Players have to find a vaccine with the correct chemical formula by transferring the elements from one test tube to another!
Reroute better world
Understanding the impact of personal actions towards others, spatial orientation and strategy
The action takes place on European Union. Players plan their cargo logistics from one place to another based on several pre-conditions.
The game fosters children’s reasoning and spatial orientation to plan their cargo transport to a predefined point, where the other carriers (players) have the same objective. Players need to overcome barriers of coming across other players.
Live in Harmony
Reflection on identity in forming one’s personality
A gamified STEAM activity in which children explore all aspects of identity: personal, regional, nation-state and European. They discuss the issues of equality in terms of gender, education and opportunities. Math is applied to introduce main European geographical features. A final gamified art project reinforces the whole experience.
Farm in the city
Fostering urban & resource planning, logical and critical thinking
Networks present many opportunities for developing algorithms that are practically useful. In this activity, junctions, or larger “nodes’’ are placed in such a way that all other nodes are at most one step away from one another. The objective of the players is to find a solution of combining the least possible nodes which connect to all points.
Third territory - Explore the Crazy Bayou
Let's explore the challenges of the human activities' impact on the ecosystems in this third territory: the Crazy Bayou!
“He used to come and rest in the ponds of the bayou. In the mornings, when the sun rose up, you could hear him sing. But the last time he came all the land was devastated. Grass no longer grew, trees had been cut down to make packaging and the earth was drilled to extract its elements. Too sad to land, Feather kept flying. He dropped two green feathers and continued on his way. To find it you will have to make peace with the earth, and feed the earth to restore it so that flowers and trees can grow again. Then animals and insects will come back.”
Ecosystem in a jar
Understanding biological lifecycle and the impact of human interference
This is an experiment which introduces components of the miniature ecosystem in a jar. Once a jar is closed, the plant uses the water, sunlight, and nutrients from the soil to survive. As the plant loses some leaves, they are broken down by bacteria and become nutrients in the soil. With the right balance, the ecosystem inside the jar can survive for years. By observing these changes and interactions among organisms and their environment, children will understand how the CO2 cycle works, how each factor influence the natural cycle etc.
Addressing the harmful consequences of human activity on earth and oceans, reasoning and logic
The action takes place in the middle of a plastic continent created by man's negligence. A dolphin imprisoned in its midst must make its way through the heap of mountains of garbage to get out! Players move the garbage piles on the board to free the trapped dolphin.
Raising awareness on SDGs, fostering dexterity
This an observation and precision game, where players draw a continuous line without raising their hand from a transparent piece of paper to reproduce as close as possible a route shown on a separate picture. The aim is to win as many bonuses (overlapping with specially indicated nodes on the route) as possible and to avoid obstacles (other nodes on the route, respectively indicated).
Challenging accessibility and unequal distribution of food resources
Children learn about accessibility to food resources, inequalities and challenges in their distribution. Each player is given a random quantity of food which gives them a certain amount of energy, allowing them to take a certain number of steps to move forward towards the finish line. Inevitably, some players will not make it to the finish line and some players who have abundance of energy resources can share these with others to help them advance.
Fourth territory - Fine-tune our world in the Fantastic Factory
Final efforts to acquiring skills needed to be in charge of reshaping future!
“He often flew over the city, landed on top of a building and cheered us up with his song. But the last time he came by, he could not find his way through. He was dazzled by the city lights, couldn't find the sun and stars that were hidden behind huge skyscrapers, and was disoriented by the dense wireless network that clouded his senses. He lost his last coloured feathers, the pink and purple ones, and disappeared. To find this feathers, learn to use your machines and screens to create a social link between living creatures and improve living conditions."
The Perfect City
Learning to handle manipulative behaviours and question information
The quest aims at teaching children to detect and overcome manipulative behaviours by questioning information, intentions and fact-checking. Participants are divided into small groups and each group is joined by an adult. The teams task is to build "a perfect city", by drawing it on paper. The adult in each group has a hidden agenda to manipulate the results to reach their own specific goal. At the end of the game, the groups show their city to the other groups and explain, why their city is the perfect city and how they felt about the instructions of the adult.
Fantasy out there!
Stimulating imagination, open-mindedness and creativity
Through the classroom window, you can see the sky, but if you stick a plastic sheet on which you have drawn dinosaurs, superheroes or UFOs, it will look like a bygone era, a comic book come true or an alien invasion! Turn the classroom window view into a Jurassic Park jeep window, a panoramic view of Stark Tower or a Space Invaders game level! Have first discussions about augmented reality!
Pop-up city of the Future
Creating artistic universes, understanding sustainable development processes
Players are asked to project an imaginary city, metamorphosed following energy, environmental, demographic transformations ... Four universes are then explored by the participants and staged in the form of interactive pop-ups. Underwater, in the air, underground and in trees. The different Pop-ups can be assembled in leporelo (accordion book).
Raising awareness on legal and economic requirements to new technologies
Discover today's and tomorrow's world and new technologies while having fun! In this game a player (the referee) draws a concept card from a pile, keeps it secret and tells the first clue at the top of the card. All players can answer at the same time, but can only give 1 answer. The objective is to find the answer after disclosing all clues.
Discovering computation and programming
In the Memory quest, children link words (e.g. computer devices or Scratch commands) with a picture. The images are related to programming and computers. Children learn more about the world of technology and game programming, without using any real devices.
The Visitor of the Future
Playing with causality
The game represents time travelling and teaches children in identifying and addressing casualty. Players make decisions and take steps. At some point they come back in the history and realize that something they did then have caused consequences in the present.