What is the “Oregon Trail”?

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The students will be playing a game called, “The Uncle That Works for Nintendo”. From this game the students will be taking notes on possible pathways, timers, and options that are available.


This lesson introduces students to the language of computational thinking and narrative reasoning.

Expected Lesson Duration:

1.5-2 days

Interdisciplinary Connection(s) to Common Core

Preparing to Teach This Lesson:

Lesson Procedure:

Introduction/Gain Attention

  • Video of the Day: The class will begin with an image that is hopefully game related, and the student and have them write a story about what is just off the boundary of the picture.


  • After the daily meme the students will be introduced to the next project, video games.

  • All the students will play The Uncle that Works for Nintendo.

  • As the students play the game, have them pay attention to the possible pathways, timers, and options that are available.

  • Allow the students to pay notes to the images utilized:

    • Sounds

    • Videos or motion graphics

    • Most importantly have the students pay attention to the quality and style of the story.

  • Direct the students to Twinery.

  • If students have the ability to download twine to their computers I would direct them to do so.

  • Else then, direct the students to use the online version in the top right corner of the screen.

  • Ensure that the students know that stories in Twine are saved to your web browser itself, not to the twinery.org web site.

  • The best thing to do to avoid these problems is to regularly archive your work with the -archive- link on the right sidebar of the story list. This saves all of their stories to a file on your computer that they can then restore with the -import- link on the same page.

  • Use the green + Story button on the right side of the screen to get started with a new story. It will pop open a balloon asking what to call it. Give it a name – if they need a hand with the naming scheme tell them to name it -the doctor that inspected the orifices of my body only to find out that two had been switched at birth.

  • After they give their story a name, they will be taken to its story map. The story map is a canvas for the story that will expand in size. Instruct the students to move around it using the scroll bars of the window, or if they are using a touch-based device, just dragging around with their finger.

  • A box pops onto the story map as soon as it opens, called “Untitled Passage.” The story will be made up of individual passages. Usually, passages are shown one at a time to a reader. Instruct the students to enter some text in that starting passage. Do that by either double-clicking it with a mouse, or by tapping it with their finger on a touch-based device and choosing the pencil from the icons that appear…

  • At the top of the editor that appears is a field with the passage’s name. The name can be changed any time. Underneath that is a button to add tags to the passage. For now, they can leave that be. The rest of the editor is for changing the text. Instruct the students to enter a description of a terrifying experience it would be if you had an encounter with a doctor that switched two of your orifices at birth:

    • Ex: As I sat in my scantily clad hospital gown, in this cold and stale examination room i see my mom sitting in the corner with her favorite red purse with a concerned look on her face.

    • ** Note to the instructor:** I do hope that you realize that you can replace my ridiculous story with your own. To make that easier I have changed the font color of those ridiculous parts.

  • After the students have written a paragraph instruct them to close the passage editor either with the Escape key, or by clicking or tapping the X in the upper-right corner. There’s no need to save work – Twine will automatically do it as changes are made.

But please remember:

  • The best thing to do to avoid these problems is to regularly archive your work with the -archive- link on the right sidebar of the story list. This saves all of their stories to a file on your computer that they can then restore.

  • Instruct the students to click or tap the Play button on the right side of the toolbar.

  • A new window or tab will appear that shows the story in playable format. Except… it’s not very playable at the moment.

  • There’s nothing for a reader to do but read. Instruct the students to create choices for what to do next.

  • Instruct the students to go back to the story map and edit the passage again, and add this text at the bottom:

    • Ex:

      • [[Ask mom what is wrong]]

      • [[Ignore your mom like always, and look at the Garfield picture on the wall]]

  • After the editor is closed, Twine will create two new passages with the names of these choices, and draw connecting lines between them to show that they’re linked. These passages have a thinner border than the first one.

  • Twine highlights the starting point of the story with a thicker border. The students can change the starting point with the rocket ship icon on the passage’s menu.

  • The rocket represents the launch point of the story.

  • The students can rearrange the passages in the story map by dragging them with their mouse or finger.

  • Have the students organize things however they like.

  • Edit these new passages with what you think would happen next. Is the mom just worried for her little sweetums? Does the protagonist’s doctor have super bad news for him that the mom already knows about?

  • Once the students have added text to the “Ask mom what is wrong” hit the Play button again. You’ll now see clickable links at the end of your story.

  • Now the students know enough to create a simple story.

  • The students can either keep adding passages to those new ones, or even go back to the beginning and add another option, like [[Break out and run for the door]].

  • Once the students are done with their story, click or tap the title of your story in the toolbar. It has a little upward triangle at its end, like “▲”, to indicate that it’s a menu. This is the story menu. It contains options that the students won’t use as often as they work on your story.

  • For example, the students can Rename Story from this menu.

  • Click on “Publish to File”. This will save the story into an HTML file that works on its own.


  • Understand the concept of computational thinking and how it can be applied to various situations and problems

  • Understand the concept of narrative reasoning

  • Acquire new technological skills by use of Twinery

  • Observe the successful implementation of a dynamic story, how its multiple pathways alter the viewer’s experience, and how dynamic stories adapt to character developments

  • Identify a logical sequence of events from a given storyline

Content of Lesson

  • Acquiring Key Concepts: further developing narrative reasoning, creating unique storylines and narratives.

  • Engaging in Experiential Learning: creating unique storylines with multiple endings, plots, etc., and following the unique storylines created by classmates.

  • Building Proficiencies: strengthening creative narrative skills and narrative reasoning skills, gaining new software skills by use of Twinery.

  • Connecting with STEM Professionals: view a video or listen to a professional discussing their process of creating a similar game/story, such as the creator(s) of the example game The Uncle that Works for Nintendo.

  • Assessing Learning: have students explain why they chose to follow the route they did in regards to their unique storyline versus possible other ideas they had; additionally, students can explain how they arrived at their multiple endings, which ending they favor, how Twinery allowed their game/story to thrive, etc.

Closure and Review

  • Reiterate the importance of storytelling in media, describe the amount of written work that is consumed by media outlets and the amount of recycled material that continues to be recirculated due to the lack of new material.

  • Explain the importance of diversity in the storytellers and writers due to experiences and how it shapes our stories.

Higher Level Thinking Skills Noted

  • Developing a dynamic story

  • Adapting stories due to character developments

  • Perception due to appearance


The art and skill of storytelling that will be practiced in this class will help the students reasoning skills, cognitive constructive capabilities, and develop character. The creation of a narrative requires the student to develop a logical order from a sequence of events. In order for the student to develop a meaningful arrangement of events the student must begin to grow their narrative reasoning skills. These skills can evolve through the consumption and dissection of narrative literature, of a mixed medium. While developing of their narrative reasoning skills the students should/ will become more empathetic to others, wise to deciphering the true purpose of the story, and become comprehensive thinkers of their own circumstances. The students are finally at the age in which they are beginning to construct their own narratives. We, as educators, want them to be exposed to a great diversity of narratives in order mature those narrative reasoning skills. The more developed their narrative reasoning skills are the more they get from a story (deeper perspective). The more advanced their skills, the more likely they are to rationalize why this character chose a particular path, place themselves in the characters shoes, and develop their own character.

Explorations and Extensions:

Does the dynamic aspect of storytelling take anything away from the message that the author may be trying to deliver?

Assessment Criteria for Success:

Content knowledge, student knowledge, and appropriate resources are aligned to instructional outcomes. student learning will be assessed throughout the lesson via question responses and correlation to the project.

Students will have successfully met the outcomes when fundamental questions about the importance of storytelling and its role in imagery can be observed through their writing and reflections of their peers work. Also questions about their current disposition are taken into consideration when they see media should begin to arise. Also a fluid and respectful use of time, along with an essay that is fluid, easy to follow, and retains its essentials as an ELA.

Modifications/Accommodations and Access for All:

A simpler version of Gaming through twinery is already prepared if there are students that need to re-review the information. Also, if students need an alternate assignment due to their personal disposition to the material, Alterations will be easily made.

Implementation Feedback:

Students can receive feedback on their completed games/stories from their peers and instructor. Students can then share how they felt about the project with their instructor; as well as what they gained from it, how it could have better benefited them, etc.

Other Important Course Development Information

Best Practices:

Exemplary Previous student work: