Instructors’ Guide

SPOILER ALERT: the pitch video and blog contain plot spoilers. If your lesson plans rely on plot surprises, use Something Wicked at the end of the unit.

Do you use Understanding By Design? If so, click here to download the UBD goals for Something Wicked, the game.

If you’re new to UBD, a quick and free primer is online at I highly recommend their whole approach to curricula—the books are available on Amazon, and they’re practical, accessible, and worth the read.


Skip ahead to find suggestions for using the Something Wicked blog and our crowdfunding pitch video in class.


Will your students read Macbeth this year? Whether Macbeth is their first Shakespeare play or their fifth, following the Something Wicked development process can get them actively engaged in the play. How? Use our story to:

Neuroscientists are now confirming what educators have known for years: “It is literally neurobiologically impossible to think deeply about things that you don’t care about.” By using the excitement of a video game, Something Wicked gets students emotionally invested in the work.


Even if you’re not teaching any Shakespeare this year, following the development of Something Wicked can still get your students excited about adapting stories across different media. Most of the suggestions below can be used for just about any work of literature on your curriculum.


Just a classroom computer to watch the pitch video and read the blog.


Below, we include a handful of quickie bell ringers (what’s that?) as well as ideas for longer projects. We’ve also included suggested sound bytes to introduce each one.

Got more ideas? Add them in the comments or let us know how you adapted ours!


Show the Something Wicked pitch video (2.5 minutes) and ask students:

If you were in charge of art for this game, what paintings/movies/TV shows/album covers/video games would you add to a Pinterest board for inspiration?

What themes does it seem like this video game will highlight?

Based on the pitch video, what plot points do you expect to see/read in Macbeth?

Can a video game format adapt a well-known story? Defend your position.


Show the Something Wicked pitch video (2.5 minutes) and distribute copies of Act 1 Scene 2 (Folger online version here). Prompt students with one (or all) of these suggestions:

List the story beats in 1.2.

What are the rules of Macbeth’s Scotland, as set up in 1.2? What is allowed, punished, and rewarded here? Use lines from the text to support your claims.

What video game mechanisms would you create to reward or punish these attributes?

Have students read our blog post, “Thinking with a Medium.” Ask them to

explain either 1.2 or a scene of your choice to the grade below you. Pick any two media forms (pencil, TV sitcoms, contemporary dance…) and discuss how each medium would highlight different themes from Macbeth. Use lines from the text to support your claims.

Love making stuff as much as we love making stuff?

Use the previous suggestion and ask students to make their adaptations. Invite lower grades to a pop-up Macbeth gallery.


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