Video Game Verbs Lesson Plan


Level : Grades 4 to 8

Author: MediaSmarts

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & ENGAGE: A Digital Media Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson, students learn that video games are unlike other media because they are interactive, allowing players to do things and make choices. They then explore the idea of affordances and defaults by considering the “video game verbs” that different games allow you to do. They consider the commercial, technical, and genre reasons why some verbs are more often possible than others and then create a simple design for a video game in which players are able to do a wider variety of things.

Learning Outcomes

Know: Students will learn the following essential domain knowledge:

  • Reading media: Codes, conventions, affordances and defaults of video games
  • Ethics and empathy: Impacts of video game design on ethics 
  • Making and remixing: Video game construction techniques

Understand: Students will learn the following key concepts/big ideas:

  • Media are constructions
  • Media have social and political implications
  • Each medium has a unique aesthetic form
  • Digital media experiences are shaped by the tools we use

Do: Students will use tools to create a media work, understand how media makers’ choices, media codes and conventions and the affordances and defaults of digital tools  influence how works are made and experienced, and engage with issues of ethics and agency in games.

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit