BRONXVILLE, N.Y. - Several Bronxville students had their brains and creativity tested this semester, when they were saddled with the task of inventing and creating their own, original board games.
After weeks of collaborative work, Bronxville Middle School students in Greg DiStefano’s technology classes unveiled some of the games they created, complete with prototypes designed using a 3-D printer and wood carving machine.
The innovative project began cohesively, with the students playing traditional board games in class. They were then asked to invent and implement new rules for their favorite games, before they were asked to incorporate their own original ideas into a brand new game.
According to DiStefano, the students designed each aspect of the game on a computer and made paper prototypes of those original games to exercise their ideas before making their final hands-on model.
“One of the big driving forces behind this kind of project is that they have to use a computer and automated machinery in order to realize their ideas, so we’re not just making pretty pictures on a computer, we’re making something that would come to real life,” he noted. “Student voice is a really big aspect of this.”
The students’ projects included a reinvention of Connect Four by adding a third player, a game based on the television show “Friends,” and the Manhattan subway system. By the end of the year, all middle school students will have completed their own board game to take home to their families.
“We made everything; the board, the cards and the rules,” eighth-grade student Caitlin Mooney, who worked on the ‘Friends’ game, noted.
“We printed our own game pieces on a 3-D printer and it’s really cool the way they turned out,” Mooney’s partner Sasha Paradase added. “They look like ordinary game pieces, except they’re made out of plastic and we made them ourselves.”
DiStefano commented that the scope of the project is intended to force students to use their minds in different, creative ways. He said that “besides acting as game designers, (students) had to be cognizant of the end user and make sure whoever played the game would have a good experience.”
“You give the same project to every single student, and I won’t get two identical results back, which makes it pretty challenging, especially for me,” he said. “But that’s also what makes it a highly rewarding situation.”
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