In Magic: The Gathering, players travel to a fantasy world and take on the role of powerful wizards to summon mythical creatures, artifacts and spells to defeat their rivals. If you’ve never played it, the game is basically an entire deck full of “wildcards” — each with the power to add some magical items to your stockpile or the ability help you build an army that can knock a few life points off of your opponent. This wildly popular card game has been around for decades — and when you cross it with a fully editable template and a splash of AI technology, it also just so happens to offer a ton of potential for unleashing some serious “Magic” in our classrooms.
I mean after all, who doesn’t love a good card game, right?
In this Magic: The Gathering-inspired alternative assessment, your students will create their own original cards with unique “powers” and “abilities” based on everything that they’ve learned in the unit. It’s a fun way to engage their creativity and get them thinking more deeply about the material. Plus, it covers all sorts of higher order thinking skills like critical thinking and analysis. So, for example…
Let’s pretend that a team in a middle school History classroom has decided to create a Magic-style trading card inspired by what they’ve learned about the American Revolution. Naturally, an epic game that’s all about heroes and villains needs some collectible “good guys” and “bad guys” to populate each deck of cards. But just what, exactly, might each of these collectible cards look like? What special powers might they have? And what sort of artwork would be the perfect complement to the sorts of imaginative creatures, artifacts, items, and spells that a team might dream up?
Cast An Enchanting Spell of Creativity in Any Classroom
What we love most about this activity is how WIDE OPEN it can be for all kinds of student creativity! This approach can make the learning experience more memorable and exciting for students as they get to use their imagination and come up with their own solutions to course-related problems and challenges. Plus, once each student (or team) is finished dreaming up their creations, they get the chance to present their cards to their classmates and explain their design choices, which can be a powerful way to build presentation skills (not to mention an “enchanting” segue into a gallery walk and a peer review / voting / reflection activity to follow).
But the real “magic” is just getting started!
And if your students aren’t sure if their artistic abilities are up to the task of dreaming up fantastic creations for an epic assignment such as this, fear not. Thanks to the magic of Artificial Intelligence (including Midjourney and Dall-E, not to mention the vast image libraries that are now available completely free on OpenArt.Ai), your students can quickly start conjuring all sorts of mythical monsters that embody the key concepts of your course content in no time!
(Pro tip: using specific keywords like “unreal engine” and “hyperrealistic” when generating or exploring AI artwork libraries can produce seriously impressive results)!
While slaying the proverbial “Artificial Intelligence Dragon” and introducing these cutting edge technologies into our classrooms can absolutely be scary for students and teachers alike, alternative assessments like this one really give your classes a fantastic starting place to experiment with their prompt engineering skills as they use the “game”-like atmosphere to their distinct advantage. Finding or generating those picture perfect images within the massive tomes of virtual artwork can definitely take all sorts of time. That’s why giving students a safe, low-stakes arena like this one in which they are freely encouraged to try, fail, and hone their skills in leveraging AI technology for custom searches can do wonders for their self confidence. And perhaps most “magically” of all? You’re still teaching your course content and all of those critically important 21st century digital literacy skills that they will need long after their days in your classroom have drawn to a close.
Let the battle begin!
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