Les Maitres D’Eau!

I discovered a VERY cool serious French game to implement into the classroom. So all you French educators out there, check this out!  It’s called Maitres d’Eau and it’s quite relevant and educational as it discusses the water network system of Paris.  It is very descriptive, the little “helpers” on the site who “talk to you” and guide you from step to step like to inform you of different facts about how plumbing works, what is needed, what you should pay attention to, etc… As a “serious” game, its goal is to inform and educate as well as entertain.  This game had some easier sections than others.  Building the aqueduct system of pipes was sooo difficult for me.  Two in particular were very hard for me and I played them each over 10 times with STILL no success.  Goes to show my gaming experience, huh? I had to eventually take a break and go back to it to try again.  I am still not able to successfully connect all of the pipes from the beginning to the end so I decided this part of the game was probably too difficult for my students.  I would most likely tell them to attempt it a few times then skip to the next section.

Les Maîtres de l’Eau - screenshot

This is the map of sections.  You must complete section 1 before you can unlock section 2, 3, 4, and so on. They seem to get a little bit harder as it goes on.

After each active game, there is a learning section where you read about certain facts and definitions, the “encyclopedie” section. The definition of an aqueduct or chloration for example could be terms.  Then you are quizzed on what you read and only have a short amount of time to connect the right response to the question.  I usually get 2/3 stars at the end.  It’s not easy when you are unfamiliar with the terms.  I would probably provide the students a list of certain terms.

I can see this game being difficult for even upper level French but I think it is certainly possible if I go over certain terms such as “appuyer”(press), or “faire glisser” (slide) as these terms are often found in the mini-games.   I may also explain to them ahead of time how to accomplish each game.  I imagined playing this game WITH the class, as in we would go through each section together and once one is finished they would do the same section again before moving on to the next.  On the second day of gaming, I would review briefly with the students what to expect but they would ultimately complete the games at their own pace on this day.

Les Maîtres de l’Eau - screenshot

This is the learning break.  The figures act as teachers in a way and tell you about different parts of the water system, whether the types of water itself, or how the water is transported…etc. The figure to the right changes according to the topic.

I saw that you can download this game on your android as well.  The image above was the easiest game for me.  I was confused at first but then I realized the colors of the needed “icon” were listed under each image.  Whereas, the first 2 times around I was trying to memorize which icons went with each image.

My learning objectives of this game would be for students to gain a better understanding of the water system in Paris and obtain key terms while playing that they would later use in class when discussing the water system.  I would probably quiz the students on what they learned and certain vocabulary terms found within the game.  For example, I would tell students that they would need to record the three types of water mentioned under the “Prelevement d’eau” encyclopedia section, (eaux souterraines, eau source, eau de riviere)  Each day may focus on a different gaming section, not necessarily all of them.  I would obviously need to test this out in the classroom to better understand how I would instruct with this game.  One learning objective for day 4 or 5, for example could be for the students to state the five principle reservoirs for storing treated water, (section 5 of the game).  Students would also list and describe aspects of each unit of distribution and to which resevoir it belongs.  After each mini-lesson, students would express in French their feelings, likes and dislikes of each game and 3 things that they learned from each. Students would then discuss their reactions to the game with a partner, comparing and contrasting their comments as well as what they learned. This would fulfill the communication objective in the NYS LOTE standards.  I would then ask the class as a whole to volunteer their thoughts on the game, asking which students enjoyed it and why and who did not and why not.  This game would definitely be for a French 4 or 5 level class.

Ultimately my primary objectives of this game would be: 1) for students to practice their overall comprehension on the given topic of the Parisian underground sewer system.
2) for students to record at least 10 vocabulary terms they didn’t understand and to look them up in a dictionary.  (This makes students responsible and accountable for their work and their own learning.)

I would collect their reaction responses and what they learned and depending on how detailed or how vague their responses were, I would be able to conclude whether the game was a success or not.  We would also discuss the new vocabulary terms in class.  It’s important for the students to see what other classmates of theirs found the same terms and what terms other classmates found that they didn’t.

I believe this game has a lot of potential in the classroom and I must say I am quite excited to try it out one day.  I would use this game to relate to a cultural lesson, (fulfilling the cultural NY state LOTE learning standard) on the Parisian sewer system.  I could give a brief history on Napoleon III’s reign and his construction of new boulevards, aqueducts and sewers with the help of Haussman and Belgrand.  It really was a phenomenal time of advancement, sanitarily speaking, in Paris’s history.

There is a museum of the Sewer system in Paris.


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