2. Story Tellers‎ > ‎

ST Session 4

This was the final session (due to the school breaking up for summer next week) and we had quite an ambitious agenda.  However, the group arrived excited and enthusiastic  :o) 

So, it was clear that it was going to be a productive session…

This week’s narrative work consisted of two tasks:

1. Add the final annotations to the Wreck of Zanzibar story schema
We recapped and referred back to the text when discussing how Michael Morpurgo takes the reader through a series ‘tension builders’ as they read about:
    • Laura finding the turtle and her efforts to save it
    • The spotting of the shipwreck and the frantic events associated with preparing it to be launched
    • The injury to Laura’s dad and her opportunity to live her dream and row the gig alongside the islanders
    • The build up to the rescue 

The Climax to the story is centred on the rescue and Laura’s eventual reuniting with her beloved brother, Billy.

The story’s resolution sees the island revitalised as a result of the resources and materials collected after the shipwreck and before the Zanzibar went down. 

It was clear, by the way the group discussed, recalled and referred to text and it’s events that the group are still very much engaged and captivated by this book.

2. Task two involved marking up a blank map of the Scilly Isles from the Read and Respond Teacher Guide by referring to the text for information and clarifications.

The key events to be captured included:

    • Location and path of the General Lee
    • The location of where Laura found and rescued the turtle
    • The locations and movements associated with the Zanzibar and the Bryher Island rescue gig.

This task required independent reading and revisiting the text for clues and cues, as well as using the illustrated map in the front of the book itself.

Kodu focus

It was the last session, time was short, so a tough, ambitious but motivating challenge was set… make a simple ‘gig race’ game!

We discussed and agreed the aim of the game: to race against the computer’s boat to collect a given number of stars before the computer’s boat does.

Context: in the Wreck of the Zanzibar the different islands that make up the Scilly Isles race to secure the work of ‘tendering’ whenever a large cargo ship moors in the offshore waters of the islands (for safety, to replenish or to supply the islands). It was key to the livelihoods of the islanders that they secured this work, thus, the maintenance and crewing of the gig was an important aspect of live. And even today gig racing is a popular activity to the Islands and the preservation of it’s heritage.

Breaking down some of the game’s key elements/principles:

  • Build an arena – an environment flooded by water
  • Create two boats: different colours (one for the computer and one for the player)
  • Place a series of stars (or other objects) into the arena
  • Program the computer’s boat to move automatically, initially ‘wandering’ but then when a star is ‘seen’ move towards it and then bump > eat it.
  • Program the player’s boat to move when controlled and to ‘eat’ the stars when it bumps into them
  • When a star is ‘eaten’ award a point to a score variable that belongs to the boat that ate it. NB. To achieve this two score variables are needed. The pupils made the score variables match the colours of the boats.
  • When 3 stars have been eaten (and 3 points awarded), present the relevant  (coloured) ‘Win screen’ for whoever has won (player or computer).


The results of this session were amazing – not only did the pupils progress through this game design, they began to recognise some key game building considerations:

- The need for their game to have a good balance between too easy/too hard… they got little satisfaction from their game being too easy, or too hard

- The need to make the game more interesting/difficult/appealing… they began to explore:

- Handicapping to weight in favour of the computer or player
- Adding extra level of rogue characters/objects that damaged the boats if hit/eaten
- how to make their games feel more like arcade games by adding sound effects and music.

All in all, not bad for just over an hour’s worth of work.

All that was left was for me to do was to award the group with their Kodudes certificates and USB sticks (with the Kodu application on)… oh, and take a photo :o)

Well done Kodudes – great work!