Gaming, Zombies, & Education for the Win!

Hi! My name is Gwyneth and I'm NOT much of a gamer.

Oh, it feels kinda good to admit that!

I mean, as much of a geek grrl as I've always been I know I *should* be a gamer but alas, epic fail. Not many games have held my attention for too long.

Sure, like everyone else I played & aced Angry Birds as soon it came out but I was more of a fan of the plush birdies than getting 3 stars on every level. I grew bored fast. Though I did see the possibility for teaching math, science, and other subjects with the game using Chrome Apps.
I PWNED Plants Vs. Zombies!
The other game I was drawn to was Plants vs. Zombies, which I will shamelessly brag I am an expert in beating! (PLANTS Vs. ZOMBIES Game Tips at end of this post!) Imagine my surprise when I saw this....

Cyberbully Zombies Attack!
The popularity of PvsZ was not lost on the the people of Net Smartz Teens (sponsored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children) Cyberbully zombies are attacking NSHigh! Don’t let them get inside or they will send you mean IMs, post embarrassing pictures of you, try to steal your identity…and eat your brains! The game designer & illustrator Amy Charlick describes the project: "NSTeens required a game based on the infamous 'Plants Vs Zombies' for their online safety game. Focussing on cyber bullying, the game used school-aged zombies as the enemies, and digital devices and social networking elements as the weapons. I designed and animated all backgrounds and characters." -- So, taking the engagement of Plants Vs. Zombies translated to digital citizenship! Fascinating.
But that's it. I even gave up on DrawSomething after I noticed that once getting past 100 words with a few friends & my mom they started repeating! Added to that when confronted by my friend Jennifer LaGarde's expert drawing, I gave up & raised the white flag! ;-) Epic fail! [grins] Srsly, click the image to see a larger size of her mad amazing drawing skillz!

Level Up Book Club for the Win!
So yeah, I'm not really a gamer or an expert in gaming & education. But I have friends who are! (Now you're thinking how misleading this post is, huh? Don't give up!) I've mentioned the LevelUp Book Club before but my oh my how it's grown! Brainchild of  Matthew Winner & Jennifer LaGarde - the long distance wonder twins first created the book club blog only a month or so ago - then it GREW - to epic proportions! LevelUp has morphed into it's own Gaming & Education social network! There are challenges, prizes & points to win, books to read, Diigo and Live Binder resources to share, a Tumblr page, hashtags to Tweet, and more! UPDATE: They've retired this site & haven't kept up with it. See? Some gaming is very transitory and short-lived.

Hungry for more?
How about a tasty bite of a soon to be published SLJ article by Jennifer!
"The following 1400 words will blow your mind because they reveal how two wonder twins met through the power of social media, threw a simple idea into the air, and saw it land with the most epic win, shattering into engaging challenges, enviable prizes, and innumerable opportunities to learn and connect with like-minded educators and professionals."
Sounds great, right?!
Plants Vs. Zombies PWNED!
My best tips:
Always plant from back to front of the yard! Gives your offensive plants more time to kill the zombies! Always plant 2 rows of sun producing plants. I like to plant on the sides with garlic protecting (more on that below) but when you're first starting out you have to plant 2 rows at the back of the yard - I like to have at least 10 sun producing plants...the more the better!
My "go-to" plant is the flinging Kernel-Pult - because it damages with the corn kernels & paralyzes with the butter pats AND it's only 100 to buy! "It launches either small light-damage kernel or bigger double-damage butter which temporarily immobilizes zombies. Like other lobbed-shot plants, the Kernel-pult fires at a rate of 1/2x, meaning that the light or normal damage is an average of the damage of the kernels and butter respectively. Also like other lobbed-shot plants, the Kernel-pult can hit Snorkel Zombies while still in the water. "
GARLIC is your friend! - I use garlic on the sides of the lawn or roof to plant my sun-creators the garlic protects them from being eaten because they divert zombies to another row. HINT: Plant double for levels with the pole-vaulter & don't forget to re-plant. Each zombie will take one bite, get grossed out, & move to the next lane - will divert 21 zombies before eaten.
I did not respect the Star Fruit at first but this is one great plant! "The Starfruit is a plant received at the end of level 4-6. It attacks by projecting stars in five different directions. Each star does normal damage. The Starfruit begins to fire anytime a zombie enters a lane within its range, so planting multiple Starfruit a distance from the intended target and overlapping their lanes of fire is a good strategy" If you can plant 2 Star Fruits behind garlic this will protect it and shoot at all zombies passing by....creates a perfect little killing hallway...AND with a starry smile!
Use the Sun-Shroom for all night games NOT Sunflowers! Sure, they take 2 min to grow up to full strength but give out the best once fully grown. While you plant as many as soon as you can, waiting for them to mature, fight off the zombies with the FREE puff shroom!
The Puff Shrom is a humble but highly effective plant! Put 3 or 4 in a row and they can take down the traffic cone head zombie. Did I also mention that they're FREE? So when playing a night game this is one Must Pick! Plant these on Lily Pads in the water - at least 3 in a row to kill those pesky water zombies. Once you get more money you can unpick them & put more offensive plants like the kernel-pult or Cattail on the lily pad.
Cattails are the BEST for pool levels! Sure, they cost 10,000 from Crazy Dave's store, but they're SO worth it as they will attack any balloon zombies and any zombie in any lane and can even take down the metal Zomboni!

Finally, the Chomper is a hungry zombie muncher! This cool plant, which has a range of two squares in front of it, so it can eat a zombie on the "other side of a Wall-nut, Tall-nut, or Pumpkin. Like all massive-damage plants, it's best against tough zombies, or for when a zombie manages to get past your defenses" See above for a gameshot of how I used the Chomper to win! Visit the Plants vs. Zombies Wiki for more information & tips!

What are your best Game-based lesson ideas? Any great Plants vs. Zombies tips? I love your comments!

Cheers dears & Happy Teaching.......AND Gaming!
and as always @CritterSharpe has the final word err YAP!

Miss Critter Sharpe Says Yap!


  1. Holy EPIC WIN, Batman!

    Thanks for the shout outs, Gwyneth! (And especially for all the support that brought Jennifer and me together) Fun to see you get your game on at ISTE. Plants vs. Zombies is such an addiction... and it's fun to see your completionist side coming out in PvZ!

    Lots of love (gaming and otherwise),

    - Matthew

  2. Oh my stars! This post makes me so happy! I love me some PvZ, but I gotta say, I couldn't stop Angry Birds until I had 3 stars on every level. I'm compulsive that way. :)

    That said, as Matthew will confirm, I'm not a gamer either! I just recognize genius when I see it AND I've seen how game based learning motivates kids, so I was eager to learn more.

    Thanks so much for the shout out! I look forward to seeing how #levelupbc grows AND to all those new Draw Something requests I see in my future. Tee hee.

    Thanks again, lovey!

  3. Sweet post! Jawesome resources! Wiiiiiiii LOVE IT!

  4. Just saw this to add to the gaming fun resources - Wizards 101 recommended by Forbes and a virtual PLN friend Cathy Stevenson, aka Audrey Fotherington, from Canberra, Australia. Cathy says she and her kids have been playing online together for over a year. Down under connections!
    -Linda D.

    Forbes article:
    Wizards 101:

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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