QotM-2019-09 (Gina Taylor)

Biology lesson plan — September’s Quest of the Month

Classcraft’s September Quest of the Month is a brainy, media-packed lesson plan that takes questing to a whole other level! 

Each month at Classcraft, we choose one awesome quest to promote. Our pick for September is “Riddle of the Cortex,” a biology lesson plan by Gina Taylor (@rltaylor94). 

For use with any grade and in any classroom, this self-paced lesson may be short — students can complete it in a single class period — but it’s BIG on having awesome gamified tools and a great story. 

Students can read the mysterious tale to themselves or listen to the teacher’s narration, complete with music and sound effects that set the perfect atmosphere. 

To help them understand the brain, students will have to write labels and define terms, solve challenging puzzles, and record notes from an out-of-this-world movie clip. Their final task is to crack the cipher to reveal the “Riddle of the Cortex.” Import this quest to start using it with your class. 

Quests are personalized, self-paced, choose-your-own-adventure lessons for students. If you use Classcraft, you can submit quests you’ve created to be the next Quest of the Month on our submission page. Our goal is to spotlight the amazing educators who inspire us and share creative, teacher-made content with our global community of forward-thinking educators.

Classcraft Gamemaster Gina-Taylor
Classcraft Gamemaster Gina Taylor

Now, let’s get to know Gina!

What are your teaching stats?

Gina Taylor: I have been teaching for 26 years. I teach Grade 8 science at Goshen Middle School in Goshen, Ohio.

What inspires you?

Taylor: Inspiration comes from everywhere for me. My son, my wife, the seasons, and holidays to name a few. 

What made you decide to use Classcraft? 

Taylor: I have been using gamification in my classroom for several years. I needed a year-long epic game for my 8th grade students to become involved in and really have an immersive experience. Classcraft offered this. 

Your favorite things about Classcraft are …

Taylor: I love the pets and the opportunity the students have to personalize their characters. 

Riddle of the Cortex
Quest: Riddle of the Cortex

Why do you love the quest you created? 

Taylor: I love the quest I created because I was able to record it and add sound effects. Reading the quest is one thing, but listening to it brings a whole other experience to the students. 

What did your students think of your quest? How did they react? 

Taylor: It’s difficult to impress 8th grade students, but I think they enjoyed it. They worked hard to finish the quest within the time period. That was my first clue that they enjoyed it. 

What are your “trapped on a desert island” books or movies? 

Taylor: My favorite series of books would be “Harry Potter” or the “All Souls Trilogy” that begins with “A Discovery of Witches.” My movies would be any of Melissa McCarthy’s comedies and “Atomic Blonde.” 

Why did you want to become a teacher? 

Taylor: I became a teacher after bouncing between Engineering, Graphic Design, and Medieval History. Becoming a teacher allowed me to wrap everything I love into one job and still be creative. It was and is the best of all worlds. 

What current student trend baffles you and why?

Taylor: It is so difficult to teach students who are immersed in a digital world. They expect answers and information at a blinding speed. This also causes them to have very little stamina when it comes to problem-solving. Taking the time to think and stay with a task is certainly something that today’s students wrestle with.

Which Hogwarts house would you be sorted into?

Taylor: Oh, I am definitely a Hufflepuff and proud of it.

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