Board Games Inspired by Books

How do you teach middle school students to dissect a book? To dig into the plot? To define the roles of the characters? And to look for themes?

Some teachers would assign a book report, some a basic Q & A sheet. However, in Mrs. Schmidtbauer’s class, the seventh graders were given a different kind of assignment that challenged them to not only consider the basic elements of their book but how to creatively share the theme of the story with others.

Each of the seventh-grade students read a book of their choosing and were given a month to design a board game based on their book. They had to create all the materials needed to play the game, along with an instruction sheet that would allow others to play the game without the creator’s guidance.

Mrs. Schmidtbauer (our middle school language arts and literature teacher) has saved other students’ board games over the years, so before digging into the assignment, the students had the chance to play board games from previous years to see how other students had completed the project.

As the students turned in their completed projects, the class broke into groups and took turns explaining their board games and how to play them. Each group then had time to play their creations and showcase their creative thinking!

2D to 3D Thinking

In Ms. Geppert’s technology class, fourth-grade students are stretching their thinking from 2D to 3D, in preparation for upcoming lessons on 3D printing.

The students were given cards that had flat, 2D diagrams displayed on them, that guided them on where to place Keva planks to create various angles. Over the course of the lesson, students needed to create three different perspectives, and check their designs with the photo examples they were given.

This exercise helps students think about all 3 dimensions, which prepares them for their intro to Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), and how to think through alignment and design in 3D.

Ms. Geppert said that “it is pretty common for a student who is new to CAD software to make a creation and think it is aligned until they change the perspective on the screen and then find it’s leaning. Before we print, we want to have thought ahead about these kinds of design flaws.”

The fourth-grade students will continue their practice with Keva planks before moving into their computer work.