Want to make the study of slavery come alive? Check out Mission US: Flight to Freedom, a browser-based game that combines linear storytelling with a choose-your-own-adventure feeling. Students warp back in time to 1848 and step into the shoes of 14-year-old slave Lucy King as she runs away in search of freedom. Within each of the five chapters, students have some freedom to visit different locations as Lucy and speak to the characters they find. They can also explore each location, seeking out collectible Smartwords (vocabulary words) that help them understand what they're reading. Kids complete tasks, some of which may have a time constraint or priority. Students also make decisions that affect their character and the story. Some decisions earn badges that represent character traits, and these badges have an impact on the end of the story.
Mission US: Flight to Freedom shines most in the way it incorporates decisions into the story arc, rather than following a linear path like its predecessor Mission US: For Crown or Colony? As students make choices, those actions may become a part of Lucy’s character. In the end, the collected character traits help form the conclusion to the story. This play mechanic connects students even more deeply with Lucy, because they know that they've helped to form the person she's become. And it encourages students to play through again, making different choices to obtain a new outcome. Rich teacher resources make this title a pleasure to integrate into the classroom, and kids come away with a deeper understanding of the history of that time period. Although there are no right or wrong answers, some choices may get Lucy captured or lead to other negative outcomes. The highly emotional nature of the content (characters are beaten or torn from their families) combined with the challenge of making decisions for which there's no correct answer may prove difficult for some students.
You can use this engaging simulation game in conjunction with a lesson on slavery or as a platform for a discussion about the difficult choices people have been forced to make through time. Students can play individually and compare results, or they can play in small teams, negotiating their team values along the way.