Teaching Remotely with Tyto Online

You've got a lot on your plate. We've made this landing page to help with advice on how to get going quickly with Tyto Online for remote teaching. With some help from you, students can still engage in high-level scientific practices outside of school!

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Before Gameplay

Make Connections

To get your students ready to make the most of their play experience, begin by making connections to previous science learning they’ve done that is relevant to the content you have assigned.

Sharing the driving question and learning goal of a quest/storyline is a great way to do this.

Facilitate Discussions

Facilitate discussions with your learning management system (LMS) forum or question feature, or use a video conferencing tool such as Zoom. Another great option is an engagement platform like Padlet where students can post their ideas.

Once your students have been prepped with driving questions and prior knowledge, they are ready to begin playing the game.

Find these Resources in Teacher Guides

Many of the resources referred to below are available within our Teacher Guides for our storylines. The Teacher Guide has everything you need to help students through a storyline, and has many supports and extensions that can be easily adapted for remote learning.

You can access the teacher guide from the Learning Dashboard by traveling to each storyline page. Here’s how to get there:

  • Log into your Teacher Dashboard with Tyto Online.
  • Go to the left side of the screen to access the “Tyto Online” dashboard.  Click on “Explore & Assign”.
  • From the drop-down menu, click on the module you are interested in.
  • Click on Storylines for that module.  
  • Scroll down and click on “View Storyline” for the one you choose.
  • Click on “View Teaching Guide On Google Drive” to access the Teaching Guide.

During Gameplay: Storylines

Storylines are series of quests designed to explore an anchoring phenomena or problem.  Read more.

Utilize Graphic Organizers

Have the students use a graphic organizers as they are going through the quest. These tools will help them organize their thoughts and will give them something to refer to during the game discussion. These In-Class Supports are the Summary Table, Argumentation Expanded Reasoning Prompt, and the Argumentation Writing Prompt, found in the Teacher Guides.

Summary Table

You can access a blank storyline summary table for students to fill out here. Storyline summary tables are designed to help students organize their thoughts and to focus on learning objectives.

Most storylines also come with a completed summary table. This will allow teachers to check answers, give hints, or to pre-fill some fields in the blank table to save students time.

Read more about how to use summary tables in our blog post here.


Argumentation Writing

After a Detective quest (a quest containing an argument builder sequence) ask students to explain their reasoning more fully. We made new versions that are Google docs friendly so that students can type into the document directly. Simply make a copy and distribute to students to make their own copies, too.

Argumentation Writing Prompt

Argumentation Expanded Reasoning Writing Prompt


Also, read more about scaffolding students’ argumentation skills with Tyto Online.

During Gameplay: Sandboxes


While all quests will play out in the same way for all students, Tyto Online has three sandboxes that are more open-ended. They provide unique experiences that are simulation-based, and can be used as part of project-based or capstone learning experiences.

These sandboxes are the H.E.L.O. (Ecology), the O.R.B. (Weather & Climate) and the Drakonarium (Heredity).

Sandbox Suggested Activities

Since Sandboxes are so open-ended, they do best with activities and challenges provided by the teacher to help focus students’ learning. We have a variety of suggested activities on the Teacher Dashboard under the Sandbox section, most of which are editable documents on Google Drive. If you need help finding them, check this Knowledgebase article.

We also have a Teacher Guide for the Ecology Sandbox (access here).  We’re working on ones for the rest!


You can challenge your students to complete a task in one of the Sandboxes. This can be something like making a fire & ice planet in the Weather & Climate Sandbox, making an ecosystem without bugs in the Ecology Sandbox, or creating a specific drakon in the Genetics Sandbox.

These activities can be expanded by asking students to explain the reasoning they used to complete the challenge, or the science behind the results. Students can type their responses into a copy of our supplemental worksheet on Google Drive and turn it back in.

You can even ask them to draw a model explaining the final outcome — take a picture and then upload it to your LMS.

Using Models

The Sandboxes are simulations / models, and therefore provide opportunity to develop the Science & Engineering Practice of Developing & Using Models, and the Crosscutting Concept of Systems & Systems Models.

Make Models. Have students make models based on their experiences in the Sandbox. Complete a Trophic Level Diagram, or draw a model showing inputs into a system based on completing a challenge. They can take a picture and upload it to the LMS with their cell phones.

Analyze the Sandbox as a Model. Students can also engage in discussion of the Sandbox as a model itself. How does it represent real life, or differ from it?  What are the major topics? Why do we use models even though they are imperfect?

Collecting Data

Students can also use the Sandboxes as a basis for collecting and graphing their own data about phenomena. We have even created Google Drive templates to help with this. They can:

After Gameplay

Debrief & Discuss

You can use the teacher guide to see what your students have done in-game to complete each quest in a storyline. We have some suggested discussion questions and other prompts in the teacher guide which you can use for live discussions or as writing prompts in your LMS.

For the Sandboxes, you can also encourage students to share how they accomplished various tasks: how did they breed that drakon with two different mis-matched horns? How did they manage to get a stable Himalayan Forest?

Similarly, post discussion prompts on your LMS and ask for students to explain and support their responses with screenshots and evidence from their own experiences. What problems have they encountered, and how did they resolve them? 

Vocabulary Review

‘Tyto Online’ has a built-in glossary–some text is clickable and will link to a definition of the word being clicked on.  You can make a virtual word wall using our vocabulary cards (linked in every teacher guide). These cards are useful for helping students formalize their scientific language. 


Extension Activities

Our Storyline Guides for teachers contain suggested activities and resources throughout. These activities encourage students to build on their learning outside of the game, either through additional online resources you can share, or experiments they can try at home. 

Most teacher guides also include a Career Connections page at the end of the document. These may suggest career paths that students had not considered, or serve as excellent prompts for research activities (e.g. “how would a civil engineer’s knowledge be helpful in the quest you just completed?”).


Have Students Share Screenshots from the Game

While all quests will play out in the same way for all students, Tyto Online has three sandboxes designed to provide an infinite number of unique play experiences. Have students take pictures of stable (or unstable!) ecosystems that they’ve built in the HELO, planets they’ve curated in the ORB, or drakons they’ve bred in the Drakonarium.

Tyto Online also has robust character and room customization options, and kids *love* showing off their carefully-decorated apartments, outfits, hairstyles, and pets. (No need to worry about microtransactions–all customization options are paid for in-game by credits that students receive from completing educational content!)

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