One of the more interesting item mechanics in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim is the crafting system. Without going too deep into the system, which can become a rabbit hole, the player can combine various elements found around the Skyrim world in order to create a new and more useful items. In some cases the game gives the player formulas or recipes for successful combinations. Want to create an Iron GreatSword? You will need 4x Iron Ingot, 2x Leather Strips and access to a Forge. In the alchemy system the player has to submit combinations, often without a recipe, to see if the ingredients will successfully combine. I am really interested in bringing the latter mechanic into my classroom.

We are all busy and I don’t really have time to think out every possible combination possible for my items. In fact, since my items are based on historic primary sources I want students to find combinations I didn’t think of!

For more on my narrative see My 2018-19 Classroom Narrative.

So the question becomes twofold.

  1. How do I evaluate whether the proposed items are appropriately combined?
  2. How do I determine the new power of the combined items?

Here is my half-baked idea…

…I won’t!

I will make the students evaluate the combinations!

Thinking of the first question this is partially due to time restrictions but it also serves a pedagogical purpose. The classmates will have to know the content in order to evaluate their fellow students combination and then give a thumbs up or down. This would need to be anonymous (which I need to figure out) and I would have final say for all student approved combinations. We would also need to have some sort of time limit or minimum number of students evaluating. I am thinking that Flipgrid might be an interesting tool for this. Students would have to read their spells and explain the new effect power. Flipgrid doesn’t provide the anonymity that I would like but I am anxious to see the app in effect.

My course syllabus or maybe a large poster in the classroom would need to include the expectations. Here are my early thoughts on requirements

  1. A Combination Spell (Poem) must include content information from both sources
  2. A Combination Spell (Poem) must be more advanced than a simple AABB or ABAB rhyme scheme. Maybe a Limerick or Diamante style poem or it will be multiple verses.
  3. The Spell MUST connect or compare the sources and not describe each independently.
  4. The Combination Effect can be whatever the student requests.
    1.  The student will have to explain the “Time When Played” (i.e. Common Assessment, Anytime, Clash, etc…)
    2. Effects CANNOT be used to increase XP (this relates to grades)
    3. I (the teacher) will be the final moderator of the effect’s power. If it is too powerful then it will be an immediate declined and a stock power or the student can retry.

The important piece here is that all successful combinations will be PUBLISHED! This way future item combinations and effects will be known. The “Spells” will need to be unique but the combinations and possible effects would be known.

So what am I missing? I would appreciate help finishing this half-baked idea!