During a recent conversation with colleagues, I was reminded of a game I used to play with my students to sharpen their critical thinking skills. A few years ago, while on my way to work, I was listening to CBC Radio (sort of like NPR for my American readers), and they were interviewing an educator. I can’t remember the context, but I clearly remember the idea for a simple game that could be played with students. For lack of creativity, let’s call this the Wikipedia Game.
The premise is simple, think 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but in the world of Wikipedia. Students are asked to navigate to a Wikipedia page on a completely random topic, say Canadian hockey player Sidney Crosby, and using only the blue hyperlinks presented on the Wikipedia pages, navigate to a completely random topic, say pancakes. Students aren’t permitted to use the Wikipedia search tool, they are only permitted to click on the hyperlinks presented on each page, and must think of logical pathways leading to the agreed upon ending topic. Pick starting and ending topics for the first game, then let students present their own ideas for future games.
There are two ways to determine the winner of the Wikipedia Game: 1) students using the least amount of hyperlinks to navigate from the starting topic, to the ending topic, or 2) students who navigate from the starting topic, to the ending topic in the least amount of time. If there is ever any question about the hyperlinks clicked, the browser’s history is a helpful tool. Students will enjoy revealing their search history to their classmates!