Quandary in the classroom
Quandary is a free, online 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.
“There’s the ability for students to argue and debate with one another, and to engage in discussions about problems, and to actually talk through how to solve those problems.” - Lisa Radden, Boston Renaissance Charter Public School, Director of Instructional Technology
Who is Quandary for?
Quandary has been designed for 8-14 year olds, 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.
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?
Quandary will work on any web browser with the latest version of the Flash player plug-in, which you can download for free. Note that the game will therefore not work on some tablet and mobile devices. We are currently planning a tablet version of the game – watch this space!
Simply give Quandary a try and if the game doesn’t load, follow the on-screen instructions.
How much time does Quandary take to play?
There are three episodes (scenarios) in Quandary. Each takes about 10-30 minutes to complete, depending on the speed of the player.
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.
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.
- Standards Mapping – Shows how Quandary’s learning outcomes match the Common Core State Standards and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills elements.