Quandary in the classroom
Quandary is a free, award-winning game that engages your students in ethical decision-making and develops skills that will help them recognize ethical issues and deal with challenging situations in their own lives.
This page brings together all the information you need to successfully implement Quandary as part of your teaching, including a handy teacher guide, classroom implementation video, lesson plan and worksheet.
We’ve also mapped the game to the Common Core standards. And don’t forget to head over to the teachers’ forum to share your own ideas and discuss tips and techniques from other educators.
What is Quandary about?
Quandary, a free game for players aged 8-14, presents engaging situations about how to build a new colony on the planet Braxos.
In Quandary, players must make difficult decisions in which there are no clear right or wrong answers but important consequences – to themselves, to others in the colony and to the planet Braxos. In their interactions with other settlers in the colony, players must consider facts, opinions and solutions, just like in real life.
Though the game’s setting is a futuristic colony, the genuinely tough situations that players encounter are translatable to the ones they are likely to face day-to-day. The skills players develop while playing Quandary – such as critical thinking, perspective-taking and decision-making – will help them recognize ethical issues and deal with ethical situations in their own lives.
Quandary provides a framework for how to approach ethical decision-making without telling players what to think.
Who is Quandary for?
Quandary has been designed for ages 8 and up, although it’s certainly possible to find ways to use the game outside this target range. Although an 8 year old is very different to a 14 year old in terms of their comprehension of ethical issues, the scenarios in the game can be engaged with at various levels of detail.
Players aged 13 and up have the additional opportunity, through the tablet app version of the game, to access the Character Creator tool. This allows them to devise new colonists, and alternative viewpoints, in response to a new set of challenges.
What will students learn?
Quandary aims to strengthen the moral compass of players, by developing the skills that help them recognize ethical issues and deal with ethical situations in their own lives. These skills include:
- Critical thinking
Quandary can also be used in the classroom to help develop a range of essential literacy skills and life skills including:
- Problem solving
- Information literacy
- Global awareness
- Creative thinking
For more detail, view the full Standards Mapping for Quandary.
What technology do I need?
We've made it as easy as possible for you to play Quandary. Whichever way you choose to play, it's always FREE!
On the web...
- Quandary will work on any web browser with the latest version of the Flash player plug-in, which you can download for free. You can play the game right here on this website, on BrainPOP's GameUp site, or via Edmodo.
On tablet devices...
- Quandary is now available as a standalone app on Android tablet devices via Google Play and Apple iOS devices via the Apple App Store.
The tablet app and web versions of the game are the same, but the tablet app contains the exclusive Character Creator tool, where players can build their own colonists in response to a new set of challenges.
How do I use the Character Creator tool?
The Character Creator tool provides an exciting classroom or homework activity that will get your students even more involved in the ethical challenges facing the colonists on Planet Braxos.
Creating new characters is an exclusive feature available only on the Quandary tablet app. But anyone can view - and play - character creations on the Quandary website. Here’s how it works...
If your students are over 13 and have access to tablet devices:
1. Register as a teacher on this site.
2. Use the teacher controls to generate usernames and passwords for your entire class.
3. Have your students log in to the Quandary tablet app and:
- Select 'Create' from the main menu screen to access the Character Creator tool.
- Decide which of the ten all-new ethical challenges the class should work on.
- Create a unique set of three characters, each with their own statement about the challenge. Students will need to include a fact, solution and other opinion. Ensure each student or group of students chooses a different fact.
- Make use of our printable Character Creator Tracker that accompanies this activity.
4. Have you or your students log in to the Quandary website and:
- Visit the Create page.
- Select and play through the challenge the class has worked on, featuring their very own characters! (Note: The challenge will be available to play as long as your students have created characters that match with at least four different facts. A random set of characters will be chosen each time you play the challenge.
5. As a teacher, you can preview and hide any of your students' character sets using the teacher controls.
If your students are under 13, or have limited or no access to tablet devices:
You can still have your students create characters using our printable Character Creator Tracker.
How much time does Quandary take to play?
There are four episodes (scenarios) in Quandary. Each takes about 20-30 minutes to complete, depending on the speed of the player and their depth of interaction.
Quandary's registration system allows players to save their progress after each episode and return by logging-in at a different time. It’s not necessary to register to play the game, but note that progress will not be saved.
How should I use Quandary in the classroom?
Quandary has been designed for flexible use, both in and out of the classroom. Our lesson plan, below, offers different options for using Quandary in the classroom, including ways to play as a whole class, in groups, or in pairs. The lesson plan also contains a list of questions to promote discussion around the game.
- Instantly generate a list of usernames and passwords for your entire class.
- Add students to your class.
- Reset students' passwords.
- Moderate student-created characters generated via the Character Creator tool in the tablet app version of Quandary.
You’ll find lots more tips and ideas in our teachers’ forum, where we also look forward to hearing your ideas!
- Game Guide – A walkthrough of the game, plus character and episode summaries.
- Lesson Plan – A sample lesson plan for the game.
- Opinion Tracker – A printable worksheet that students can use alongside the game.
- Extension Questions – Episode-specific extension questions designed to deepen the discussion amongst your students.
- Framework of Thinking – A printable worksheet that guides students through the process of identifying and tackling a real-world dilemma.
- Character Creator Guide – A walkthrough of the Character Creator tool, available exclusively on the tablet app version of Quandary.
- Character Creator Tracker – A printable worksheet that students can use alongside the Character Creator tool, available exclusively on the tablet app version of Quandary.
- Standards Mapping – Shows how Quandary aligns with the English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core State Standards and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills elements.
- Standards Mapping – Shows how Quandary aligns with the Illinois Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) Standards.