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Disciplinary Literacy and Gamified Learning in Middle School Classrooms

Leslie Haas, Jill T. Tussey, and Michelle Metzger
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[Reviewed by
Ann Wheeler
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The authors, Drs. Haas, Tussey, and Metzger, created a text based on the travels of two middle school girls and two dogs who magically travel to 10 famous locations, such as Petra, the Eiffel Tower, and the Taj Mahal. Each chapter details three main quests that teachers can utilize in their middle school classrooms. These problem-based activities are interdisciplinary and focus on various middle school standards, such as social studies, art, math, history, and science. 
Within each of the 10 chapters, instructors can select which quests that suit students’ needs. Each chapter works independently, so teachers could easily cover only the lessons they felt would fit into their curricula. In addition, the authors included detailed descriptions of the quests with a structure that helps teachers better understand the flow of the book and each task. Sample pictures of certain completed quests, such as a 3D model from the Chichen Itza chapter and a rainwater container from the Petra chapter, and video links provide further clarity of activities.
One of my favorite chapters is about Neuschwanstein. For those activities, students have the opportunity to create a poster (Quest #1), fairytale (Quest #2), castle (Quest #3-Option 1), and transportation plan (Quest #3-Option 2). Through all of these tasks, the students are engaging with the main theme of the chapter and building their knowledge of various disciplines in fun, interactive ways.


Ann Wheeler is a Professor of Mathematics Education at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. Her research interests consist of technology and literature use with middle and secondary school students.