Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Epic Fail Terminology Lesson

As hard as it may be for many of us to understand and speak in the "language" of our students, it would be great to try.  Ask your students what an Epic Fail is and they can probably tell you.  If you are in touch with social media, then you probably know what Epic Fail means.  I came across this interesting take on Epic Fails in Literature from Schmoop, which is a great site that offers study guides and teacher resources for English, Social Studies Classes.  They have some great resources for your classroom, so I suggest checking it out if the idea of the Epic Fail lesson scares you....

So, how could you incorporate this Epic Fail terminology in the high school Social Studies classroom?  Just think about it for a second.  Let's look at JUST World War II.  The allies failure to believe the words of Hitler in his book Mein Kempf helped lead to WWII - An Epic Fail.  Hitler's concentration on the Jews kept valuable resources from fighting actual battles - Epic Fail.  The United States failure to pay attention to Japan - Epic Fail.  Do you get where I am going?

What about Science?  Well, you could Start with the Geocentric and Heliocentric models of the universe - Epic Fail.  You could look at Newton's Laws because many of them happened because of an Epic Fail in understanding, that actually led to an Epic Win (which Epic Wins could be a whole other lesson).

We have to start trying to teach in the language our students use.  I hear students all the time say Epic Fail in relation to something.  Why not have them say it in relation to something we teach?

What do you think?  Have any ideas for Math?


  1. I was just commenting today about my student's use of the word fail in class... they are not doing it at an epic level. :P Anyway, they use it and move on and so it becomes not a bad thing to take a shot at something... sometimes it works and sometimes not.

  2. I agree with your take. However, it takes the right teacher to do this. I know several teachers that would be laughed out of a classroom if they even mentioned epic fail.

    I know other teachers who could say it in front of a whole class to a single student and everyone would see the humor, move on and make it better.

    You have teach within your style and somehow still connect with kids.

    Most importantly, you have to connect with your students. Get to know them, know what makes them tick, what their interests, know what they are about.

  3. I completely agree Knaus. A teacher has to teach their strengths and comfort zone to be successful, but as life long learners, I think it is a teachers duty to try and get in touch with personality of students.

  4. I used this video on the first day of my physics 20 class:

    Wile E. Coyote: Fail vs Epic Fail

    The students wrote down examples of Epic Fails in the laws of physics, and we discussed them after the video. It was a lot of fun, and created some great discussion. We are going to go back to the video at the end of the semester and do more in-depth analysis using what we have learned through the course.