School ARG with special needs students

Hi Escapists

I'm a Teacher aide working primarily with 10 - 12 yr old students. I planing to create an alternate reality game to play with the kids. I want it to be educational but still very fun. So what I'm hopping for is that any of the other escapist might have some good ideas of possible activities also I'd like to here from people who have partispated in other arg's.



Do you have a theme in mind, or any goals besides having fun (What kind of educational topics? History? Mathematics?)? what are the limitations in playing the game?

When you said a video game set in a school with special needs students, I immediately thought Katawa Shoujo.


Thanks L0dest0ne, TheIronRuler for replying.

As to limitation time and money are the big ones I only have the students for 3 hours a week so I can't have them going to far. on the other hand i have a smallish budget so i can buy stuff. as to a subject that a little up in the air history would fit well but the kids do need work on there math so any idea around ether of toughs. the other limitation is we can't leave the school grounds aside from that we have internet access and i have a website for creating fake information. we have an phone system i can use and a large grounds in which to explore.

I haven't played Katawa Shoujo, from what a quick Google search showed me it's one of thoughs visual novel games. we could work it into the game but i would need to be sure of content. Also if there is a lot of reading that not ideal, i can bearly get them to read the question on there paper work.


Well, Where to begin.

Extra Credits: Gamification

Extra Credits: Gamification in Education

Extra Credits: ARG Part I; Alternate Reality Games

Those should help a little if you haven't seen them.

On to the topic at hand, from what I have heard from my mother (she was a special education teacher), one of the common things she and other special education teachers used to keep her class behaved was to offer rewards for good work (My mom used my old Yu-Gi-Oh cards after I stopped playing because they looked cool and were relatively inexpensive/easy to get, but anything they would value will work). One idea might be to introduce a reward system like this, let it sit for a few days (to become part of the natural environment for the class) then have the rewards "disappear", with a note being left behind that will lead them to the rewards. This note could be anything; a history question, a math question, etc... so long as you also create a condition to return the rewards (e.g. "Find the answer and write it on the board"). When they solve the question, you return some of the rewards (enough for everyone involved) and drop the next question. Rinse & repeat.

It's basically a real world version of "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?" but with much less valuable missing stuff. The goal is to create a mystery and get them involved and invested in solving it. Anything you can do to enhance the mystery (such as dropping clues as to who the "thief" is (usually the teacher or an administrator if you can convince one), upping the reward system from a lower reward (candy) to higher rewards (dollar-store toys), to having specific events that require "field trips" to the library) are useful and should be done, so long as it never detracts from the teaching element or compromises the question difficulty.

The advantages of this ARG are that it allows for large varieties of topics of any difficulty, creates a built-in, real-world reward-system, and creates a mystery that will engage the class and keep them invested in the "story" of the game.

The disadvantages I know of are that it doesn't have a teamwork mechanic to encourage cooperative efforts and it requires the higher-ups in the teaching staff/administration to be aware of the ARG (so as to not draw any excess parental ire when the kids go home talking of stolen stuff). The final downside is that the missing rewards will no longer be able to be used for behavior control, so you will need to find another way to maintain this control.

Hope this helps.


Thanks hiei82 all the information you provided has been fantastic, i had never seen extra credits, now i'm hooked. I love the idea of something that goes missing and they have to solve the mystery. In the room i work there's a giant knitted cat called Bag Puss and both children always argue over who gets to pet the cat first so if the cat went missing i know they would both work relay hard to find him. At the moment i'm altering there work sheets so that they can be used as clues and i'm collecting little bits and pieces to be used as incentive. also i have found an old phone and i'm setting it up so that they can receive text messages with clues to be solved and i have found an old hot chocolate tin that i'm going to bury and it will have further clues and they will have to learn orientation in order to find it. i'm going to post an envelope containing the phone and the first clue and a diary for them to write them down.

Thanks Every one for the great ideas.



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