Team Sponsor Information

Why Use Simulations?

Truly effective teaching must involve learners on a personal level.  For deeper learning to occur, students need to arrive at understanding through personal experience rather than by simply repeating what has been presented to them.  This is where simulations come in.  They take the students into a whole new world where they can step into a situation and experience the results of their decisions first-hand.  Experimentation can be conducted with timely results, allowing learning to take place at a much faster rate.

Roller Coaster Tycoon simulation games have a wide variety of classroom applications. Of course they are applicable to computer based instruction, but they can also have applications to math, science, literacy, history, and art!  The simulation is ideal for cooperative group projects.

“Simulations promote the use of critical and evaluative thinking. Because they are ambiguous or open-ended, they encourage students to contemplate the implications of a scenario. The situation feels real and thus leads to more engaging interaction by learners.  Simulations promote concept attainment through experiential practice. They help students understand the nuances of a concept. Students often find them more deeply engaging than other activities, as they experience the activity first-hand, rather than hearing about it or seeing it.”  Simulations. (2015, September 10). Retrieved June 27, 2017, from https://teaching.unsw.edu.au/simulations

Helpful Hints

1.  Have students install or download the game on the devices they will be using prior to completing the registration survey to ensure that the game will run on their device.  There are several options:  on a smart phone or tablet, Roller Coaster Tycoon 4 and Roller Coaster Tycoon Touch are free apps.  Look for them in the Google Play Store or Itunes.  Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic will run on a chromebook, but runs about $5.99.  Talk to your tech department to make sure you can download games on chromebooks for educational purposes.  More games are being tested and this list will be updated as more information becomes available.  Games are also available for PC downloads.  Although many of the apps allow in-game purchases, these will NOT increase your chances of scoring any higher on your digital entry.

2.  Have the students practice their digital recordings for their digital entry prior to the deadline in order to troubleshoot technical problems.  Also, it is recommended that the recordings are done in a quiet environment.    Background noise interferes with the quality of the recordings.

3.  To receive a qualifying score, there are a few things the students should do:

Lesson Plans

The following lesson plans are correlated to  standards in math, technology, literacy, and career orientation, and can be used in the classroom to help students understand some of the major concepts that are covered during the competition.  Click on the lesson title to access each lesson plan.

Lesson 1 – Profitability 

Students will begin to explore financial aspects of the game.  It is a teacher directed lesson, using a single computer connected to a presentation device (LCD projector).  Following the teacher-led portion of the lesson, students work in cooperative groups.  

Lesson 2 – Park Layout

Students will brainstorm theme park layout designs to decide which design will have the most positive impact on their theme park finances and buzz level in Roller Coaster Tycoon.  (Note:  PC versions of RCT use “park rating” in place of buzz level).  Considerations include financial profitability and customer satisfaction.  Through an experimental game-play exercise, students will consider ways to enhance their park.

Lesson 3 – Staff Management

Students will investigate staff management in Roller Coaster Tycoon in order to maximize buzz level.  Considerations include financial profitability and customer satisfaction.  Through an experimental game-play exercise, students will consider how many workers are necessary to enhance their park.

Lesson 4 – Expenses vs. Profit

Students will investigate how different attractions in Roller Coaster Tycoon affect the profit level.  Through an experimental game-play exercise, students will consider what types of attractions are necessary to enhance their park.  This lesson could easily follow the teacher led lesson using the same park scenario.  This lesson is best completed using student groups.

Lesson 5 – Profit Effects

Students will investigate the effects of profit on Roller Coaster Tycoon in order to maximize buzz level.  Considerations include financial profitability and customer satisfaction.  Through an experimental game-play exercise, students will consider what profitability is necessary to enhance their park.

Lesson 6 – Customer Satisfaction

Students will investigate the effects of customer satisfaction on Roller Coaster Tycoon in order to maximize buzz level. Through an experimental game-play exercise, students will consider what amenities are necessary to enhance their park.

Lesson 7 – Queue Lines

Students will investigate the effects of queue line length on Roller Coaster Tycoon in order to maximize buzz level.  Through an experimental game-play exercise, students will consider what queue line lengths are optimal to enhance their park.

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