Dungeons and Dragons: Using Role Playing Games for Education (Level 1)




Meets for one hour, once per week, for 10 weeks.

Dungeons & Dragons is not just a role-playing game, it’s an educational RPG! Dungeons & Dragons helps the players build academic skills like reading and writing, basic mathematics, critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork. These academic skills are important to developing people at a young age. Yet, the positive aspects of Dungeons & Dragons is not only academic but the game requires a large amount of social interaction among players. Through normal game progression of the story, players are challenged by obstacles that require teamwork and coordination that is comparable to participating on a baseball, soccer, or football team. Dungeons & Dragons promotes skills that any educator strives to teach and build in developing people.

As a beginner to the game, a player is tasked with getting familiarized with the basic fundamentals and how to create a character. For this portion, we will have each player create a character and then write a backstory. Once a character is created the goal of the players is to level these characters and gain new abilities and skills. Some players may choose to play a character that casts spells while others may strive to be a melee character. Whichever path, the player must decide how to build their character to meet their goals. Different characters will have different abilities, so we will choose wisely what aspects our characters will have.

I will then act as Dungeonmaster and create a world for players to use. Players will come across monsters, quests, treasure, as well as towns and cities while exploring the world around them. This part of the game requires role-playing with the dungeon master and fellow players. This role-playing rouses the imagination and helps players build social skills and problem solving skills to complete tasks. For example, these tasks may involve coercing a non-player character to help the players carry out a duty, gain information or just simply solving a puzzle in the game. These problem solving and social skills are essential to developing people, especially if the players are in their early and mid-teens. I’ll use puzzles and riddles to help students with their problem solving skills.

We will also use teamwork to help us through the game. Teamwork is important because each player’s character has special skills that make them ideal for certain tasks. Some characters are stealthier than others and make great spies and rogues. Other characters are strong and bulky and do well in melee to absorb damage that could otherwise destroy another player’s character. And some characters use magic to change the tide of battle in their favor. No matter what a character’s role the player quickly realizes that often they need their allies to carry out tasks that benefit the group.

Not only does Dungeons & Dragons promote critical reading, writing, problem solving and social interaction but the game also requires the continual use of common mathematical skills such as addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication, and sometimes requires players to read tables of information. Based on dice rolls, players use these numerical results in battles for determining success or fail of skill checks, determining randomized items, randomized events, and for moving combat forward. Math is first used in the game when characters are being created to determine ability scores.

While this is a great course for struggling or apprehensive writers, even experienced writers and learners who enjoy writing find this class to be very fun and useful! In a traditional D&D game, players can be eliminated from the game. I won’t run my campaign this way; as the DM (Dungeonmaster), I’ll have unlimited resurrections (rez’s) I can use. This way, there is no defined winner/loser, and we really focus on the skills I’ve outlined. It’s hard to develop those skills if a player has been eliminated!

Anticipated Course Outline

Class 1: History of Dungeons and Dragons and introduction to the game.
Class 2: Character creation; backstory writing; drawing/coloring character
Class 3: Character presentation and honing
Classes 4-8: Game play; players will encounter different scenarios and use their problem solving and critical thinking skills, teamwork, and more. We will continue the game play with each class, not create a new campaign each class. We may not begin game play until class 5 if learners are not ready and have not completed previous assignments.
Class 9: Course review; discussion for final writing of complete character story; character storyline writing homework assigned
Class 10: Complete character storyline presentation


Wed Sep 5, 4:45pm – 5:45pm Eastern
Wed Sep 12, 4:45pm – 5:45pm Eastern
Wed Sep 19, 4:45pm – 5:45pm Eastern
Wed Sep 26, 4:45pm – 5:45pm Eastern
Wed Oct 3, 4:45pm – 5:45pm Eastern
Wed Oct 10, 4:45pm – 5:45pm Eastern
Wed Oct 17, 4:45pm – 5:45pm Eastern
Wed Oct 24, 4:45pm – 5:45pm Eastern
Wed Nov 7, 4:45pm – 5:45pm Eastern
Wed Nov 14, 4:45pm – 5:45pm Eastern