Sunday, September 21, 2014

Start the Year with a Game

"The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing".  (Walt Disney)

As most schools enter their first few weeks of school, you can bet that many teachers have passed out course outlines and methodically mapped out with students their topics, class rules and details on assessment.  This ritual at the beginning of the year has been a familiar routine for most in middle school and high school.   

Yet, I wondered if there was a new way I could start the school year.  As students enter the building after many weeks of play and relaxation, I want to "wow" them and hook them into thinking that coming back to school was a good thing.  Yet, I am realistic and know that it is important for students to have an overview of my class.  So, I brainstormed ways I might "marry" the idea of instilling a sense of excitement into the students on the first few days and also ensuring they are aware of my course content and philosophy.  The result was to turn to a game.

Board games like Sorry and Monopoly offer many educational benefits to the classroom.  These may include:

1. Being able to follow the rules and instructions to achieve a goal.
2. Building social skills like fair play and teamwork.
3. Developing interpersonal skills through conversation and ice breaking talk during the game to get to know each other.
4.  Thinking skills are fostered as most board games have a element of strategy.

Thus, I decide to build a board game that would afford my students the opportunity to learn about my course outline and at the same time get to know each other and build on other learning skills.  After much search on the internet, I found a great blog by Kat Okula, who posted a way to re-design a Monopoly board.  So, I changed it to fit my course on Design.  

Here are the steps I went through to create my own Customized Monopoly Game:

1. I re-worded the properties on the board game so that they were indicative of some of the themes, topics and ideals that were part of my Design Class.  For example, Inquiry AVE, Asssement AVE, etc.  You can see a large copy of my board game here.

2. I re-worded all the property cards in two ways.  Firstly, I changed their title to match the properties on the board game.  Secondly, I added a question to the property cards.  If a student wants to purchase the property they must correctly answer the question on the property card first.  If they get the question wrong, it goes back into the pile. You can see samples of the property cards here (they will look misaligned in google drive, but when you download them they should look formatted properly).

3.  I re-worded the Chance and Community Chess cards to reflect possible situations that might arise in a school setting.  You can view a sample of these cards here.

4.  I found game pieces from objects around the classroom ex. paperclip, eraser, etc. for the game board players.

5. I purchased Monopoly money from the local dollar store, or you can print your own here.

The 'Design-opoly' game adopts most of the same rules of a normal Monopoly game with a few exceptions or changes:

a)  Students cannot purchase a property unless they answer the question correctly on the property card.
b) There are no houses or apartments to add to the properties.
c) One person should be designated as the banker and property manager; their role is to manage the money and property cards.  It would be difficult to both play and do this job because the questions on the cards need to be kept private.

Besides using this game at the beginning of the year, it would also be beneficial as an additional activity when students have completed work or a project and need some enrichment.

I hope your students have as much fun learning about the fundamental concepts of your courses as mine did.  Please let me know about your experience.

You can access additional files I used to make the Design-opoly game here.

No comments:

Post a Comment