Late last week I attended a book launch panel discussion put together by the Game Based Learning Meet Up group in NYC. The book is “Learning, Education and Gaming” and the panelists were some of the authors of the book: Elena Bertozzi, Ethan Hein, Gabriela Richard and moderator Karen Schrier. It was a great talk covering many different aspects of how to bring games into teaching environments.
For the past couple years I’ve been teaching game design to kids. As part of TEDx Jersey City I presented my work and some of the games my students created, explaining how the curriculum helps students develop higher order creative skills. Game design is an alternative form of teaching math, story telling and art and in the end, it’s a lot of fun.
For our final class in “Let’s Make Games” we created board games based on the idea of a quest. We spent a couple of Friday afternoons drawing a maze, creating playing pieces and dice, and developing a story for our game boards. Students created rules to follow and made short cuts and dangers. During our final class we had snacks and played our games together using 10 sided dice.
It’s been a fun trimester at HOLA and we’ve had a good time mixing art, design and craft to make enjoyable, colorful games. The kids created imaginative and decorative pieces and it’s been a blast. I’ve loved having such enthusiastic creators and I know they’ve enjoyed the projects too. None of my students wanted to leave our last class!
In anticipation of creating more complex board games we constructed paper dice. Everyone is used to 6 sided cubic dice so I brought in templates for 8 sided and 20 sided. We had enough time to make the octahedra but the students had to take the icosahedra templates home. Hopefully they were able to employ a parent to help because constructing a 20 sided dice is quite a challenge!
This week our class laid out board games. Based on a Halloween theme of a pumpkin patch, each student created a meandering path across a poster board, divided it into sections and filled it with four colors. We then decorated the board with pumpkins, gravestones and haunted houses. One child even made a pumpkin lake, a huge oval filled with pumpkins, which he thought was hilarious. Next week we’ll make four-sided dice to roll and create a set of playing pieces from Crayola model magic.