Unconventional Education: Portal

At A Grade Ahead, we’re proud to provide educational enrichment that can raise your child’s skills to new heights. Beyond this, there are other fantastic sources of learning hiding in places that you may not expect. This unconventional education can provide fun, exciting ways of learning that flexes brain muscles and expands minds in new directions. One such source: the dimension-bending puzzle solver Portal!

Portal, and its sequel Portal 2, are first-person video games centered around solving puzzles using a “portal gun.” Essentially, the device can open two portals that allow players, and other objects, to pass through across long distances. Both games drop you into a testing facility under the observation of a sarcastic AI named GLaDOS. GLaDOS guides players through room after room of puzzle-solving mayhem. So how exactly does a game like this benefit the growing minds of younger learners? Well, turns out there are quite a few ways!

The Benefits of Portal

Logic and Problem Solving

Problem solving and logic are the benefits at the forefront of the Portal series. Each test chamber requires players to find a way to the exit, but that’s rarely a simple or linear task. Instead, equipped with their portal gun and tools found, players must use logic to solve the puzzle. Maybe they need to place a cube on a button on one side of the room while standing beside the door on the other. How can this be done? Well with a portal by the button and a portal by the door, the answer becomes clear! Luckily, both games are structured to teach players progressively. In this way, there is little chance of frustration forming because something too difficult comes too fast. The test chambers are expertly crafted to teach players problem-solving skills as they play!


Another valuable tool of the Portal trade is the inclusion of physics! As the game so elegantly puts it, “Speedy thing goes in. Speedy thing comes out.” Objects maintain their velocity as they pass through a portal. This means that players learn to understand the physical properties of falling. Furthermore, they learn how they can be applied to launching something horizontally. Physics are a vital component to the gameplay of Portal, so children learn a whole lot without even realizing it! Is your child already in one of our fantastic math or science programs? Playing a game like Portal can supplement what they’re already learning and take it to the next level!

Teamwork and Collaboration

What’s better than solving tests and learning valuable skills? Doing it together! Portal 2 contains a special multiplayer mode where there are double the portals and double the fun! Each player gets to wield their own portal gun. This vastly increases the complexity of the tests now that four portals are in play. This new mode augments the problem solving by requiring cooperation and teamwork. The cooperative mode in Portal 2 allows a parent and child to work together and learn along the way!

How to Get Started

Do you think your child is up to the challenge of escaping the bizarre test chambers of Aperture Science? Portal and Portal 2 are available for a number of devices including PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Switch! Playing a game that allows your child to practice and apply the skills they learn in school and at A Grade Ahead can be an incredible resource. It allows them to underscore what they are learning while also having fun!

Portal is just another in a line of unconventional learning resources! What about you? What are some outside-the-box places you or your child have found education? Let us know below! And if you are interested in educational enrichment for your child, take a free assessment with A Grade Ahead today!


Author: Jackie Aukerman, Curriculum Writer at A Grade Ahead, Inc.


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