What is Quandary and How Can It Be Used to Teach? Tips & Tricks

(Image credit: Quandary)

Quandary is a digital space for student to learn how to make effective decisions about moral and ethical dilemmas. Crucially, it teaches them how to research in order to be in the best position to do that.

The idea is to create a game-like experience that is naturally immersive for children. This works well with the simple layout, colorful and engaging design, and varied characters that are a part of this setup.

Available for use via a web browser or on apps across multiple platforms, this is widely accessible, making it suitable for students from any background. It's also an effective tool for in class use, ideal as a conversation generator. 

All that, and it's free. So is Quandary a good fit for you class?

What is Quandary?

Quandary is an online and app-based ethics game that uses scenario-style decision making to evoke a choice by students. Crucially, it's all about collecting information to make the best decision possible.


(Image credit: Quandary)

Aimed at students aged eight and above, this has an intuitive layout that can be picked up immediately. Since it's available via a web browser, anyone with nearly any device can get playing. It also comes in app forms on iOS and Android devices, so students can play in their own time, or in class, using their own devices. 

The game is set in the future on a distant planet, Braxos, where a human colony is settling. You are the captain and must make decisions about the future of that colony after hearing what everyone has to say and juggling all the needs and wants of the group.

This has been created this as a resource for teachers to use and is presented free and without advertising. It is also can be tailored to a curriculum with subject choices and Common Core standards mapped into the game.

How does Quandary work?

Quandary is so easy to play you can head to the website, hit the play button, and you're immediately off to a start. Alternatively, download the app for free and get started that way -- no personal details needed.


(Image credit: Quandary)

The game starts with you, the captain, on Braxos making decisions that will affect the future of the colony there. Students are given four difficult challenges to solve. Students view a comic book-style story to see the setup to the issue before being given the ability to 'speak' with everyone involved to work out what is happening.

Students can then categorize the statements they hear as either facts, opinions, or solutions. The solutions break down into variations on each side for each colonist, and in some cases, the captain can help to sway opinions. 

Then you pick a solution to present to the Colonial Council, laying out the best arguments for and against. Then a follow-up comic plays out the rest of the story, showing the outcome of your decisions.

What are the best Quandary features?

Quandary is a superb way to teach decision-making and fact-checking to students. That can apply to all types of research and real-world news digestion as they are encouraged to question sources and motivations before using information to form an opinion and -- ultimately -- a decision.


(Image credit: Quandary)

The game isn't black and white in its decision-making. In fact, there are no clear right or wrong answers. Rather, students must work out what is best in a balanced way that usually results in some compromise. All that means negative results from decisions can be minimized but never fully nullified -- teaching students a lesson on the reality of decision-making.

Numerous resources are available to teachers, including the ability to pick tasks based on certain subjects such as English language arts, science, geography, history, and social studies. Teachers also have a hub screen through which they can pick ethical challenges to set the class or students and then monitor their decisions and evaluate progress in one place.

A character creation tool allows teachers and students to create parts to play, making it possible to create unique and case-specific ethical dilemmas to work through.

How much does Quandary cost?

Quandary is totally free to download and use across the web, iOS, and Android. There are no adverts and no personal information is required to start using this platform.

Quandary best tips and tricks

Work as a class
Play through a game as a class, on the big screen, and stop along the way to dive into discussions on ethical decisions as you go.

Split decisions
Set a single mission to multiple groups with certain characteristics and see how the pathways diverge and all feedback to see how the decisions affected the outcomes.

Send it home
Set tasks for students to complete with parents or guardians at home so they can share how their discussions went, giving varying perspectives on choices.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.