Author Archives: Diana Sanchez

Minnesota Ag in the Classroom: Hidden Gems

At 7 Generation Games, we always like sharing resources that we love. This week we’d like to share a site we love, which is the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom site.

At first glance, it may not appear there is much here, but appearances are deceiving.

Virtual Field Trips Plus

Take the virtual field trips, for example. When we last checked the site there were 30 videos. You can sign up for a live virtual field trip during the school year or view the videos on YouTube afterward. Most of the videos have Curriculum Connections, like this one on a Mushroom Farm.

Resources with the Mushroom Farm video include:

  • Parts of a mushroom worksheet
  • Mushroom life cycle worksheet
  • An experiment growing mold that uses nothing more than a piece of bread and a Ziploc bag
  • Writing assignments at both the upper elementary and middle school level

Agriculture and Language Arts

Maybe every state has this? If you know, let me know because after reading this I am now motivated to visit every state’s Ag in the Classroom site.

Agriculture Terms Glossary – from aquatic to turf, it’s all here. One of my favorite creative writing activities as a student was when teachers would give us a dozen or so words that had to be included in a story or essay we wrote. This glossary can be used in that same way for a writing prompt.

Minnesota Ag Mag

There are SIX different magazines available, for grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5-6. Minnesota teachers can order the print version for free. Anyone can access the magazine online.

Lessons and Recipes

Under the MN Harvest of the Month program section, you can find many K-12 lessons and recipes to use in the classroom.

The MN Ag in Classroom site provides many different resources and support to educators and that’s why it’s one of the sites we love.

Thinking of teachers (& students): Making Camp Navajo Out of Beta

When we created the beta version of Making Camp Navajo, we were in the middle of a pandemic. Schools wanted more advanced content and we had a game designer and community manager from the Navajo Nation who was able to connect us with some additional cultural experts, so it was a natural next game for us to do.

Like any beta version, it was okay. All of the math instructional content was correct, we had a unit of lessons on ratio and proportion that included playing the game. Still, like any beta version, there were aspects that could be better. We’ve spent lots of time in classrooms ourselves, and we understand that when students can’t work independently, it’s frustrating for them and takes time away from the teacher.

Changes to Make Students’ (and, hence, Teachers’) Lives Easier

TL; DR – we made it a lot less likely that students would need to call over the teacher for help.

  1. Any equivalent ratio is now scored correct. and extra spaces are ignored. The blue corn mush math problems were too easy to get wrong. For one of the problems, if a student answered 2:10 instead of 1:5, it was scored incorrect. Those are equivalent. Also, if a student entered spaces like 1 : 5 it was scored wrong. Why would someone enter it like that? As with many things people do, I have no idea, but I do know it ends with the student calling over the teacher and asking why their answer is wrong.
  2. The default screen size now fits on the smallest Chromebooks. The original screen size was a little bigger than the smallest Chromebooks, which meant the next arrow could be off the screen and the student wouldn’t see it. This resulted in them calling the teacher over who either told the student to scroll down or to zoom out and view the game at 90%.
Smiling African American female teacher standing near whiteboard and looking at schoolgirl raising hand
Photo by Katerina Holmes on
  1. We added LOADS of hints. Every page now has a header with a ? in a button the top right. Clicking on that button will give you a hint on how to solve the problem, whether it is instructions to click the colored “brush” on the right and then click the square on the “rug”, an equation to use to solve a problem for milk replacer ratio or to click the corn borers to squash them.
  2. The question applying the ratio of water to milk replacer has a random number of lambs, so it isn’t always the same problem.
  3. A hundred little changes that add up – whether it was the title not quite centered, adding wiggly corn borers to pages where these pests are discussed or an extra few pixels of padding around the score box, players don’t notice these changes individually, but they come together to make a game look more professional, and more like something students want to play.

You can learn more about Making Camp Navajo here – or just go here to play the game.

No code, no problem: 7 Gen Blocks EDU

Creating opportunities through breaking down barriers in educational game development

We started 7 Generation Games because we believed kids deserved better. We built better learning games and got better results: better academic outcomes, better engagement and better representation (both games and classroom curriculum). Over time, our mission has stayed the same, but the way we’re approaching that has evolved, or – to use a gaming term – leveled up.

A selection of the games we’ve made.

As of this blog, we’ve made 34 games – with five more in the works – collaborating with more than two dozen partners (from tribal nations to nonprofits to publishers), creating games for students who too many other game companies fail to serve, from English-language learners to rural communities to Indigenous youth. By the end of the year, we expect that total number of games to be at or approaching 50. In doing so, we’ve served hundreds of thousands of kids.

That’s a lot of apps and a lot of kids. To put that in perspective, it’s the equivalent of developing two tablet screens’ worth of games and serving three to four NFL stadiums’ worth of kids.

In the process, we built our own educational game development platform to streamline production and keep down costs.

But even then, we knew that we alone could not create games reflective of every community. Being able to create more games is important because no single game can effectively address educational outcomes across diverse populations. As much as people want to claim that their learning app or tool or software is the magic solution to all struggles for all students in education, there is no universal fix.

Last fall, we rolled out a low-code version of that platform for organizations to try to make educational game development more accessible. We adapted our platform to enable publishers, non-profits, tribes to create educational games using blocks of code that could be edited and virtually snapped together, reducing obstacles to game development by making it possible for entry-level programmers to create quality games.

7 Gen Blocks Low-Code Platform

However, we realized that to truly be accessible we needed to take our work a step further. We needed to make it possible for anyone who wanted to create educational games regardless of programming ability to be able to do so.

7 Gen Blocks EDU is that tool.

It’s a no-code version of our 7 Gen Blocks platform that integrates the best practices we’ve learned (around gaming and digital instruction), enabling educational content to be turned into games, customizable to different cultures, languages and student realities, without needing to code.

7 Gen Blocks EDU No-Code Tool

By building an easy-to-use development platform that doesn’t require coding skills, we’re not simply creating games that reflect communities, we’re empowering communities to control their own narratives and create their own games. 

That representation and reflection matters. We at 7 Generation Games know it because we have lived it.

One of the things that I am most proud of when I look back at what we’ve built at 7 Generation Games is not the games we’ve created (although those are awesome), but the opportunities – and not just for the students who play them.

I look at the team we currently have. I think about the number of talented young professionals we’ve been able to help launch their careers as their first job or internship and proudly watch them go on to organizations from NASA’s JPL to Unity to LinkedIn. Throughout the course of our company history, our staff has always been overwhelming (70-80 percent) Black, Indigenous or Latino. More often than not, our team members have been first-generation college students and/or English-language learners. So when we talk about creating for historically marginalized communities, we’re not building for “those” communities, we are building for OUR communities.

Some of our amazing team, past and present

We are testaments to the transformative impact STEM education has had on our lives, and it shapes the work we do.

I believe it is our responsibility not merely to leave the ladder down for the next generation, but to build them stairs.

I’m under no illusions that 7 Gen Blocks EDU is that full staircase, but I do believe it’s another step in making that happen.

7 Gen Blocks EDU is currently in the MVP stage (that’s the technical terms for a functional, but not polished draft form). We expect to move it into beta this summer and hope to have public-facing version of the platform available by the end of this year. 

7 Gen Blocks : Coding as Arithmetic is to Algebra

Wow! So I just found out the Miller’s Analogies Test was discontinued. If you don’t know, it was at one time used for admission to graduate school and societies like Mensa where people sit around and feel smug about their IQ scores. It has questions like :

Intelligent : dunce :: _____ : clown
Oklahoma : Nebraska :: Oregon : _____

In remembrance, I thought I’d start this blog with an analogy. I’m often asked to speak to middle school students during the week that Los Angeles Unified School District has them studying careers. I get it, the district is 74% Latino/ Hispanic and we are all concerned about students’ achievement in STEM so what better person to bring in than a Latina with a Ph.D. specializing in Applied Statistics who co-founded a software company.

One day, a student raised his hand and asked me:

“They say we’re going to be learning algebra next year. I keep hearing about algebra but I don’t know what that is. How is that different from the math we have been learning up until now?”

Very intelligent student in Los Angeles

I said, “The math you’ve been learning until now lets you add a single problem. If you learn 3 x 9 = 27 then you know how to solve that one problem. You’ll learn that division is multiplication in reverse, so you can check your answer by 27 ÷ 3 = 9. In algebra, you will learn how to solve TYPES of problems.

Let’s say that I’m buying two different things, maybe corn tortillas and flour tortillas, because what weirdo doesn’t like tortillas? If they cost the same, that’s one type of problem and I can represent it like this – p*(f + c) – where p = the price of a pack of tortillas, f = the number of packs of flour tortillas I want to buy and c = the number of packs of corn tortillas. Here is the cool thing – ANY TIME you have two different things that have the same price, you can solve the problem like that.

Now, let’s say you were looking at buying queso (cheese) and tortillas, because everyone likes quesadillas, right? Now, a pound of cheese doesn’t cost the same as a pack of tortillas. Let’s say I’m buying one pound of Cacique cheese for $4 a pound and I can make 20 quesadillas with that and tortillas cost $3 and come 10 to a pack.

So, the equation is 4(1) + 3(20/10) . Here is the coolest thing – any time you have a problem where you have two things with different prices and you need different amounts, and one of the things is sold in a group or pack, you can use this equation to solve that problem.”

Did I use making tortillas to explain algebra? Yes, yes, I did. As my lovely daughter, Ronda, says, Don’t tell me how to live my life.

Of course, shortly after she said that, she ended up in the ring at Lucha Libre and one of my homies from back in the day was ready to fight security, but that’s a story from another day.

Anyway, my point, and I do have one, is that 7 Gen Blocks, the new low-code and no-code game builders we are working on is very much like that.

How exactly is 7 Gen Blocks: Coding like Arithmetic : Algebra ?

Oh, I am so glad you asked that! Why, it’s just like when I would be giving those presentations for a federal agency who will remain nameless that gave us 10 minutes to present and 5 minutes for questions when I planted friends in the audience who asked questions to elicit information I didn’t have time to get to in my presentation. Oh, wait, that never happened. That was a false rumor spread by my enemies, if I had any enemies, which I don’t, of course.

Anyway, to answer your question … an educational game may have a question like the one below, which was in our beta version of Making Camp Navajo. We had a specific question asking the ratio of milk replacer to water when bottle feeding lambs. It will also have a specific hint that pops up when you click the question mark at the top of the screen.

When we make it into a block, not only can we insert a variety of numbers for the problem, say, any number between 2 and 20, but we can also make it possible for you to change the text, so instead of water to milk replacer to feed lambs, it can be water to cornmeal to make blue corn mush, or pounds of cheese to packages of tortillas. At the same time, the hint will be changed automatically, so, instead of showing “2/5 = 4/x Enter the value for x”, it will show the numbers you used in your problem.

So, we have moved from a specific problem in a game to a sort of “equation” where you plug in the values for problem text, numbers (or a range of numbers) and hint, and the new screens are automatically created for you. If you want an image, like my lovely carton of milk replacer, you can give the link to any image, too.

So, there you go 7 Gen Blocks: Coding :: Algebra: Arithmetic

Stay tuned for other major improvements to Making Camp Navajo. The new update will be out within a week and I guarantee you’ll find a lot to like.

NIEA is Coming Up!

It’s that time of the year. No, not spooky season, although, we do like that time of the year as well. One of our favorite events that we like attending, and have attended in the past, is coming up. Next week is the 54th Annual NIEA Convention & Trade Show! This year’s NIEA Convention & Trade Show will be held at the Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico from October 18-21, 2023. 7 Generation Games will be there! Be sure to catch AnnMaria at NIEA this year at the convention and then for her presentation on October 21st. – details below. We hope to see you in Albuquerque!

AnnMaria’s Presentation Details:
“Teaching Indigenous languages through educational game design”
Saturday, October 21, 2023
9:00 – 10:15 AM (Workshop Session J)

Distributions and Mayan Trading (Bilingual English & Spanish)


7.SP.A.1 Understand that statistics can be used to gain information about a population by examining a sample of the population; generalizations about a population from a sample are valid only if the sample is representative of that population. Understand that random sampling tends to produce representative samples and support valid inferences.

Minnesota State Standard – History Sub-strand 4, Standard 15 “North America was populated by indigenous nations that had developed a wide range of social structures, political systems, and economic activities, and whose expansive trade networks extended across the continent.”


20- 30 Minutes 

📲Technology Required

Device with web-browser – Chromebook, laptop or desktop computer, phone or tablet


The two videos here combine math and social studies, because, clearly, the Maya understood math. The concept of distributions is introduced in the context of trading, explaining why some objects are more valuable. Students play AzTech: Meet the Maya, which teaches measures of central tendency. The lesson concludes with a question and another video on distributions.

📚Lesson Plan

1. Watch video – Mayan Trading (1:57)

Also available in Spanish! – El Comercio Maya (1:58)

El Comercio Maya

The Mayan trading video is based on an idea from one of my favorite history teachers, who says that history is more than just names and dates but also how people lived, what they used, what they did. It also has a bar chart of the relative value of objects. It explains that the Maya traded less common items for more common ones and that items that were more difficult to obtain were more valuable.

2. Play AzTech: Meet the Maya

Next, have students start the AzTech games series. They can play AzTech: Meet the Maya online or using an iPad. We recommend downloading the game onto your iPhone or iPad for better performance.

3. Question to test understanding

José tried to trade a banana for a quetzal feather and a villager threw a spear at him. Why would the villager do that? Explain using math. Extra points if you can discuss distributions in your explanation.

José ofreció intercambiar un plátano por una pluma de quetzal y un aldeano le lanzó una lanza. ¿Por qué haría eso? Explica usando la matemática. Puntos extra si puedes hablar de distribuciones en tu explicación.

4. Video giving the answer to the word problem on distributions (5:15)

Also available in Spanish! (5:15)

Explicando distribuciones y variabilidad

This five-minute video introduces distributions and variability and gives an example of computing a weighted mean from a frequency distribution.

OPTIONAL You can also copy this Google slides presentation to your own classroom if you’d rather modify the explanation for your own lecture. The slides can also be printed out and sent home with students who do not have Internet access.

Spanish Google Slides presentation – Introduciendo Distribuciones


You can view your students’ progress on mastering these standards by viewing your teacher reports. The link to the teacher dashboard for AzTech: Meet the Maya student reports can be found on this page. You should have received a password during the Growing Math training.

State Standards

Minnesota State Standard – Determine the sample space (set of possible outcomes) for a given experiment and determine which members of the sample space are related to certain events. Sample space may be determined by the use of tree diagrams, tables or pictorial representations.

Related Lesson

Distributions and Mayan Trading – This lesson is the English Only version of the lesson above.



CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.D.8 Solve real world and mathematical problems involving perimeters of polygons, including finding the perimeter given the side lengths, finding an unknown side length, and exhibiting rectangles with the same perimeter and different areas or with the same area and different perimeters.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.A.3 Apply the area and perimeter formulas for rectangles in real world and mathematical problems.


30 minutes without gameplay, 45 minutes with gameplay


In this lesson plan, students will learn how to compute perimeter, apply those skills in game-based practice problems and solve perimeter problems using an interactive web-based activity with virtual manipulatives. 


Device with web-browser (Chromebook, laptop or desktop computer); or iOS (iPhone/iPad) with access to Google apps. 

📚 Lesson Plan

1. Video: How to Find the Perimeter and Polygons (3:00)

Watch this animated video that explains how to find the perimeter of different polygons, including rectangles, triangles and squares.

Or watch it in Spanish: ¿Cómo encontrar el perímetro de un polígono? (3:12)

2. INSTRUCTIONAL ACTIVITY WITH ASSESSMENT: Interactive perimeter problems activity

This digital activity walks students through calculating the perimeter of different shapes including a rectangle, a square and a circle in a narrative-driven context around the farm and integrates virtual manipulatives. Students are provided in-activity instruction as they are presented with and explained the formulas to use when they need to use them. Additionally, with in-activity scaffolding, students can “get a hint” on each problem. 

You may elect to read and work through it during class time, giving students time to complete the problems or assign it as an individual assignment. 

If your students have not used virtual manipulatives with Google slides previously, here is a 30-second introduction.

Video: Use Virtual Manipulatives in Google Slides (0:27)

Or watch the video in Spanish: Usar manipulativos en Google Slides (0:27)

 Estimated time to complete: 20-25 minutes

3. GAME: Making Camp Premium or Spirit Lake 

Have students play Making Camp Premium games for 15-20 minutes (remainder of the lesson time) specifically including these icons. 

Perimeter is also covered in the second half of Spirit Lake: The Game.


In addition to the virtual manipulative activity above,  remember that you can always see your students’ performance on the problems in Making Camp Premium and Spirit Lake by accessing the reports page. You will need to enter the password you received during training.

State Standards

Minnesota Math Standard – Find the perimeter of a polygon by adding the lengths of the sides.

Minnesota Math Standard – Measure distances around objects.

Related Lesson

“PERIMETER OF RECTANGLES, SQUARES AND TRIANGLES” – The English only version of the lesson plan above with English only resources.

Ojibwe Clans and Migration (Bilingual English & Spanish)


NCSS theme – The study of people, places, and environments enables us to understand the relationship between human populations and the physical world. 

Minnesota State Standard – History Sub-strand 4, Standard 15 “North America was populated by indigenous nations that had developed a wide range of social structures, political systems, and economic activities, and whose expansive trade networks extended across the continent.”

⏰ Time

40 minutes

📲 Technology needed

Internet connection on a PC or Chromebook laptop, tablet, or phone.

📃 Summary

This Ojibwe clan lesson for Grade 3 is focused on Ojibwe culture. Students learn where people and places are located and why they are there. They will become familiar with the causes, patterns and effects of Ojibwe settlement and migration. They will learn of the different population centers in Ojibwe society and investigate the impact of human activities on the environment. 

📚 Lesson

The downloadable Google Slides presentation is available here. This has a digestible summary of the Ojibwe migration, and why and how it happened. The Ojibwe clans are introduced as well as the new lifestyles that the Ojibwe adopted after they migrated to the Great Lakes area and Ontario, Canada.


Making Camp Bilingual can reinforce clans and culture studies using the Life section.

  1. Select the LIFE button from the main choice screen.
  2. From the LIFE choices, click on the box in the middle of the bottom row, the one with the four people, and watch the video about Ojibwe social structure. Answer the questions that follow the video. 
  3. Next, select the box on the bottom right. Watch the overview video on clans and totems. Answer the questions.
  4. Students can also click on each individual clan totem icon to learn more about each Ojibwe clan and answer a question about each of them to earn points.
  5. Return to the wigwam and trade with the points earned in this lesson.

Students can use the language button to switch between English and Spanish while watching the videos.

Alternatively, students may also play Forgotten Trail, which is an adventure game that homes in on the Ojibwe migration. Two kids in the game retrace the Ojibwe migration on their own and learn more about Ojibwe history along the way.


Teachers will be able to view student reports for Making Camp Bilingual to view how many modules students completed in the LIFE section and their scores for each one.

Related Lesson

“Ojibwe Clans and Migration” – The English Only version of the lesson plan above featuring Making Camp Premium.

Mean, Median and Mode (Bilingual English & Spanish)

by Dr. Craig Waddell

📖 Standard

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context

⏰ Time

30-40 Minutes 

📲 Technology Required

Device with web-browser – Chromebook, laptop or desktop computer, phone or tablet

📃 Summary

Students play a game teaching basic statistics and history. Next, they are given a presentation with problems students solve finding mean, median, mode, range and outliers.


Play a game teaching basic statistics and Latin American history

Meet the jaguars in AzTech: Meet the Maya

Play AzTech: The story begins. Students who have finished this game can continue on in the series in AzTech: Meet the Maya. Allow students 15-20 minutes to play.

Students can click on a button in the left of their screen to choose the language and play the games in either Spanish or English.

Assess knowledge of Mean, Median and Mode as a class

Use this Google slides presentation to present sets of numbers to the class to use for finding mean, median, mode and range. This is also available as a PowerPoint presentation.

This presentation can also be assigned for students to complete at home, if learning remotely. Slides with answers can be deleted, or left in for students to check their work.

Review as Necessary

If students need a review, they can watch this video on how to find the mean

Finding the Average video

Or, watch the video in Spanish

Encontrando el promedio


You can view your students’ progress on mastering these standards by viewing your teacher reports. AzTech: The Story Begins and AzTech: Meet the Maya links can be found on this reports page. You should have received a password during the Growing Math training.

A second form of assessment is available through this the questions in the presentation.

Related lesson/ Differentiated Instruction

If your students need instruction on computing the mean, try this lesson, Understanding the mean, with skunks. This review can be done with the entire class or assigned to individual students as needed.

Mean, Median and Mode – The English only version of this lesson plan that includes English resources.

10-Minute Multiplication Practice with Ojibwe History (Bilingual English & Spanish)


CCSS. Math 3OA.A.4 Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers. 

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.OA.C.7– Fluently multiply and divide within 100

NCSS The study of people, places, and environments enables us to understand the relationship between human populations and the physical world. 

⏰Time Required

10 minutes

📲Technology Required

Computer/tablet with internet access for reporting student assessment data from Making Camp Bilingual.


Ojibwe History Integrated with Math If your students are like most people, you’re having a hard time getting them to focus. Each of these three activities only takes a few minutes and teaches Native American history or multiplication. These 10-minute lessons can be done as stand-alone activities at the beginning or end of a class to raise student engagement, or the three in this unit can be combined for a single 30-45 minute lesson.


Activity 1

Matching Multiplication

Step 1: Have students open Making Camp Bilingual. If you need more detailed instructions on how to access Making Camp Bilingual, student usernames and logging in, please go to this lesson plan

Step 2: If students are playing the game for the very first time, they will watch the two introductory videos that talk about Native Americans and how to play the game (5 minutes). Then you will see the Making Camp choice screen.

Step 3: Have students click the NUMBERS (NÚMEROS) box to view the six math challenges. You can press the round, green button at the bottom left with white squares to return to the choice screen at any time.

Step 4: Have students click on the top left box (with cards) to play a memory game. In this game, you match multiplication problems with their answers. You may assign this activity for 5 minutes of multiplication drills.

Activity 2

The Multiplication Dog

Step 1: Have students click on the icon with the dog. 

  • This lesson opens with a paragraph explaining that some tribes used dogs to haul heavy loads, using a type of sled called a travois. The player then has the opportunity to earn a dog and items for their dog in the game by answering multiplication problems. The game resets when it is finished, and also takes about 5 minutes.

Activity 3

Reaping the Rewards of Math Practice at the Wigwam 

The player should now have enough points to get a wigwam and at least two items to supply their wigwam. 

Step 1: Click on the wigwam icon on the bottom left. This will play a video on how a wigwam was built, followed by a second video that briefly discusses that trading existed between and within tribes long before the settlers came.

Step 2: The player then has an option to trade points for items for their wigwam.

Clicking on the wigwam in the lower left corner will bring the player to their wigwam. Purchased items appear here for decoration and interaction. 

  • Clicking on an item brings up a text box with information on how that item was used or obtained by the Ojibwe people.
  • Some items also perform actions when clicked. For example, the parfleche opens to show pemmican inside; when clicked, the dog walks across the wigwam.


Making Camp Bilingual offers Data and Reports for teachers to access after students are finished playing. 

State Standards

Minnesota History Substrand 2, Standard 3. Historical events have multiple causes and can lead to varied and unintended outcomes.

Related: 10-Minute Multiplication Practice with Ojibwe History

The lesson above has a companion lesson for English Only Learners. 10-Minute Multiplication Practice with Ojibwe History is the same lesson from above but provides the resources in English only, featuring Making Camp Premium.