Pokémon Go for Education by Katie Ann Wilson

Over a dozen educational activities and challenges inspired by the AR game from our guest blogger and AR for Education evangelist Katie Ann Wilson. 

It is amazing how quickly Pokémon Go took off, not just with kids but also with adults, and within education.  Augmented reality in general is one of my passions and when something new comes out all of my friends and family members just have to make sure I know all about it.  Then they challenge me in finding ways to use the AR tool for education.  It wasn’t any different when Pokémon Go came out, but it was my teenage son that challenged me to find a way to make it meaningful for education.

Armed with my smartphone in hand I joined my son in the Pokémon Go quest.  When it comes to a new tool I don’t like to read up on it. I toss out the manual and I go discovering.  I like to see what I can do with the tool.  I do have to confess I am not very good at tossing those Poké Balls at the creatures and I also kind of find it fun to discover new little creatures.  After playing around with the Pokémon Go I have developed some educational activities that I think would merge Pokémon Go with education in a meaningful way.  I also found some cons with the AR game.

When I am thinking about “Cons” I am referring what might not work out so well in my school.  For example we are a 1:1 with iPads for our 7th and 8th grade students.  Our 5th and 6th grade students share iPad charts.  Since I teach 7th and 8th grade students the only students that would not have access to a device would be the ones that have broken or lost theirs. There will also be the occasional student that gets his or hers taken away for a good length of time for one reason or another.  So I would have to come up with a plan B for those students.  We are also a GAFE school (Google Apps For Education) and every student does have a Google account.  The only problem I see that Pokémon Go may not work out for me to use is if my students’ GAFE accounts block my students from making their Pokémon Go accounts. If that is the case then I would not be able to use Pokémon Go with my students.

Another con I may have to deal with is that your device needs to connect to a network and GPS in order to play the game. Our school devices are wifi only and our little town has very few open wifi spots.  I know how far I can take our school devices outside our building and still have access to our network, and that is not very far.  I am luck that we do have a PokéStop right next door to our school, so if my students are lucky they could hop on the public library’s network and access the stop.

The other con is that my school does not allow personal devices on the network.  So if a student already has a Pokémon account using their personal Google account on their smartphone they would not be able to use it since the school doesn’t allow it.  I have a few cons that I will need to work through before I can use this very engage tool in my classroom.

I love the idea that the game was developed to get people moving and interact with the world around you. I also love that you have to walk a certain distances to hatch eggs and some PokéStops you have to walk to in order to access them.  My favorite part is the augmented reality component. The game brings the little Pokémon creatures into your world.  Who doesn’t want to take a selfie with rare little Pokémon? Proof that you really did find the rarest of the rare.  

Keeping in mind that I may not be able to use the game with my students’ school devices I’ve come up with a few Pokémom/Pokémon Go activities and challenges that I could incorporate into my lessons.

Mapping Your Town

Using the game you can take your students outside with graph paper, a pencil, a ruler, something to write on, and the game.  Find a spot and have students start drawing the map they see in the game. Then have them add buildings, landmarks, street signs, and etc.. that they see.  They can use the game to help them with the shape of the buildings.  Have them problem solve and develop a scale for their map.  Don’t forget to have them add important parts of their map like a Compass Rose and where to find those PokéStops and gyms.  Visit different areas around your school/town and continue to map out the areas.

Another way to map your town could be with Google Maps and GPS location.  Students could go find the PokéStops and gyms around your town and record their GPS locations.  In Google Maps students can create their own maps and add their GPS coordinates of the PokéStops and gyms.  Students can add pictures of the the areas as well as 360 images to their Google Maps.  Students could design the most efficient path a person could go on in order to access the most PokéStops and the quickest route to the gyms.  

Mapping Your Pokémon Journey

Sketchnoting would be a really good tool for this activity.  Using a drawing notebook or even a regular one you could have students map out their journey.  Before they start on their Pokémon journey have them sketch out where the begin. Are they starting in the classroom, if so what does that look like.  Are they starting at the front doors of the school, on the playground, football field, and etc… While they are on their journey have the stop and draw out the path they are taking.  Make sure they document what they see and where they are at.  On their journey what kind of Pokémon do they come across?  Do they try to capture it or just photographic it in the wild.  At the end of the journey what do they discover?  Students can then refer back to their sketchnotes for creative writing assignments such as “The Day in Life of a Pokémon Hunter”.

Guide to Pokémon Go Etiquette

Have students design a Pokémon Go etiquette booklet, presentation, infographic, poster, and etc… For example: They need tips for that most have Pokémon that is just out of reach it is ok to let it go.  You don’t want to trample your grandma’s roses or go into a stranger’s house in order to capture it.  Before you cross a street always look both ways and for no reason should you walk into traffic in order to capture a Pokémon.  Safety First!

Pokémon Go Journal

Students could keep a running journal of their experience with Pokémon Go.  They could write about the areas they find their Pokémon.  They could keep running stats of the Pokémons they capture and the ones that got away.  If Quiver and Pokémon partnered up students could make their journals very interactive.  I think it would be cool if students could attached an augmented card or coloring page to the journal.  Students then could write around the augmented Pokémon adding the stats for each Pokémon.  They could even make an augmented family tree for the Pokémon.  Throughout the school year students then could take the data they’ve collected from their journals and create presentations, digital stories, spreadsheets, and etc…  Students could also compare their journals and create class charts.  I envision students recording their data from the Pokémon journeys outside of school for this project.  You may also want to set aside a day a week for students to take a mini Pokémon journey around the school.

How to Care for your Pokémon

Students could create a booklet, presentations, poster, and etc.. on how you to take care of the different Pokémons.  They could break their project into Bug, Ice, Dragon, Water, Grass, Fire, and etc..  Don’t forget to include what they eat, where they may sleep, what they play with, where they like to hangout, and etc..

Pokémon Field Guide

Student could use digital tools to create a Pokémon Field Guide.  In the guide students could have a section for each type of Pokémon (water, grass, ice, fire, etc..). Which Pokémon would be in each section and it’s family tree.  They would also need to include the type of each Pokémon, weight, height, it’s ability, If it is rare, super rare, or just a average Pokémon.  Don’t forget their combat power and how many candies it takes to evolve them.  You could break this project up give each group a section of the field guide making it a Class Pokémon Field Guide.

Local Attractions & Historical Sites

Pokémon Go using Google Maps to place PokéStops and Gyms. Quite a few of their PokéStops at local attractions such as parks and local landmark. For example at our largest park in town there are two PokéStops.  One of the PokéStops is located at the flag at the entrance of the park and another one at the gazebo within the park.  While there is another one located at our county museum.  Students could create a map of your area and mark where the local landmarks, attractions and historical sites.  My thought is then make a layer using a sheet of clear plastic, it could be used laminated film.  Overlay the plastic on your map and mark on the plastic where the PokéStops and gyms are located.  Do they appear at local landmarks?

I would use the plastic layer to then explain how augmented reality works.  The plastic layer represents the augmented world and the map the physical one. When you use your device with the correct tools such as Pokémon Go then you can see the augmented world over the physical one.

To extend this project you could have students create digital presentations about the local landmarks. Once the presentations are completed you could create a QR code per presentation place the code on the plastic layer.  Students then can scan each code to learn more about the different landmarks for your area. 

Pokémon Data/Stats Collecting

Using a Pokémon journal to gather data have students collect Pokémon data.  The data could be the ranking of the rarity of a Pokémon, combat power, weight, height, how many candies need to evolve, the most common Pokémon, and etc…  You can even gather data such as the locations in your town where you find Pokémon.  Are there some locations more active for Pokémon than others?  You can do this as a class or have students gather data independently.  Once your students have gathered data. Use tools such as Google Sheets, Excel, Zoho Docs, Live Sheets, Free Sheet app, or Numbers.  I like to introduce multiple spreadsheet creators to teach students that there are multiple ways of completing the project and to find the tool they are comfortable of using and flexibility.

After your students have created their spreadsheets then you can move into creating charts.  I like to teach my students that just because there is all this data on their spreadsheet they do not necessarily need all the information to make their comparisons.  I would have students create a chart comparing weight and height for the Pokémon captured.  Then a different chart comparing combat power.  I would have them problem solve deciding what type of chart they would need to make these comparisons. (Bar Chart, Line Chart, Pie Chart, etc..)  If doing a class data collecting project then I would have students compare multiple students Pokémons combat power and etc..  I would then have my students write a reflection from their data they have collected.      

Pokémon Photo Walk

Using the Pokémon Go app and the augmented reality component. You could take your students on walk around your school and take photos of the Pokémon you and your students come across.  Have fun with the photos, put the Pokémon on objects, near doors, on the head of a student, etc… Get your students involved with the photos, they can come up with some fun and clever ideas for the Pokémons.  After you have the photos then students can write about each Pokémon and the area they were found in.  Why they might think the Pokémon was hanging out in that area.  What the Pokémon might have been doing.  If your students were in the playground area why might they have discovered a grass Pokémon rather than a water one.  You could hang the photos up along with stories with each photo.   

Digital Story Walk

Using the camera of your device take your students on a walk.  During your walk take random pictures of the area.  As you are walking talk about what kind of Pokémon might be hanging around.  Have your students try to imagine what Pokémon would be in the area they are in.  I would then break up my students into small groups and have them brainstorm the different Pokémon that might be hanging around.  Have them document each Pokémon they think could be hanging around.  Don’t forget their size, type of Pokémon, combat power and such.  Then have them brainstorm reasons for these Pokémon for hanging around.  When you get back to your classroom hang up the pictures you took of the area.  Have students design the Pokémon hanging out and hang them around your photos along.  Then I would have them write about their Pokémons. Have them tell their Pokémon story and place the writing with the drawings.

The Life & Times of a Pokémon Master

This creative writing project is for those that desire to be a Pokémon Master trainer.  Not everyone has this desire so this project could be independent one.  It could be written in a story format, journal, digital story, presentation, poster, etc… Students will need to include that it takes to become a master trainer, how they plan on meeting this goal, what skills they need to acquire, and etc…   

Evolving Math

When you evolve your Pokémon it gains power, but how much power.  Is it the same percentage of gain per Pokémon?  Do all Pokémon evolve more than once?  Each time a Pokémon evolves do they gain the same amount of power?  Does it take the same about of candies to gain the same amount of power when you evolve a Pokémon?

I would have these questions posted in a center.  Before a student evolves a Pokémon I would ask them to record the stats of their Pokémon then again after they evolved the Pokémon.  I would have them figure out the percentage of power their Pokémon gained and compare it other Pokémons they’ve evolved using a spreadsheet to keep track of their data.   Throughout the school year I would have students reflect on their findings and compare their results with other students results. I would then ask if they see a trend in evolving their Pokémon.

Student Pokédex

You could use digital tools such as Google Slides to create an interactive Student Pokédex.  With Google Slides students can create a slide per Pokémon with a picture, facts, and stats per creature.  They will need multiple slides at the beginning listing each Pokémon.  Then hyperlink the name of the Pokémon to its slide.  Once students have all of the slides made and hyperlinked they will need to publish it to the web.  They can then share the URL from the published web version to other students.  Students would be able to use the Pokédex to learn more about each Pokémon.  Just don’t forget a hyperlink to take you back to the list of Pokémon.  You don’t want to get stuck on a Pokémon slide.  This could be an ongoing project and students can add to as they find new Pokémon or evolve the ones they have already captured.  Students could also use the SMORE tool to create their Pokédex.  The would need one main SMORE page to list all of the Pokémon and a new SMORE page for each Pokémon.  Just make sure you hyperlink the pages together.  

Design Your Pokémon

Using the Quiver Dot Day coloring sheet you could have students design their own Pokémon.  With the Quiver Dot Day sheet students could then interact with their Pokémon in an augmented world.  Students can also use the video recording option within Quiver’s app and record the stats of their Pokémon and the story behind their Pokémon.  The video does save to your camera roll so then the video can be shared out to your classroom website, Facebook page, Twitter account, or any digital sharing platform.  Students can even take selfies with their Pokémon creation using Quiver’s camera option.  Then use those photos for creative writing assignments or add to their writing journal.  I would have students attach their Dot Day sheet to their augmented interactive writing journal and then have them write around it.  In their writing I would have them include what happens to their Pokémon when scanned with the Quiver app.  What does the Pokémon do within the app?

Mystery Pokémon

As a writing assignment I would have my students write about a Pokémon without giving away what the Pokémon is.  In their writing they will have to use descriptive words about the Pokémon and where it can be found.  Students can’t use sentences like can be found near water.  They will have to come up with creative ways to describe water, grass, rocks, and etc..   Then I would have students share their Mystery Pokémon to other students and have them guess their Pokémon.  My students would have to make a spreadsheet of the guess and chart the different Pokémon that others think their Pokémon might be. At the end of the project I would then let students share what their Pokémon really was.  I am thinking I would have a basket filled with different Pokémons for my student to draw from so that we do not get a duplicate Pokémon.

Jogger Challenge

For this challenge my goal is to get my students up and moving as well as charting their miles walked.  At the end of each week I would have my students record their miles walked.  They could use an app on their iPad to keep track of their steps, the Pokémon Go app, or any other tool they decide to use to keep track of their movement.  If their tool is recording their movement in anything other than miles they will have to do the math and convert it.   As a class we will set goals and rewards.

Hatchling Challenge

To go along with the Jogger Challenge if my students are using the Pokémon Go app to keep track of the walking, why not hatch a few eggs along the way.   As a class we will set goals and rewards for the most hatched eggs, the rarest Pokémon hatched, and etc…

There are more ways to use Pokémon Go in education.  These are the activities that were inspired by the game as I walked around trying to capture Pokémons.   Such as lots of real world math problems, creative writing opportunities, and creative presentations.  Like any game, toy, book, website, and app teachers find creative ways to turn them into learning tools.  Teacher look for those engaging opportunities and turn them into learning moments.  Pokémon Go like any game can be used as engage learning tool that will get students excited about writing, math, research, mapping, and etc…   

Other Pokémon Resources


This post is written by our guest blogger Katie Ann Wilson. Katie Ann is a prolific blogger, teacher and a passionate ambassador of Augmented Reality use within the classroom and for education. You can find her work here.