FUN FRIDAY: Westward Expansion-opoly?

Student-created games can be used in any subject area. In this teacher’s classroom, the content area of focus is social studies. This post from Teaching Social Studies is a few years old but we found it well worth dusting off and giving it a second look as it focuses on collaboration, student-centered review, and fun.

In a book (Joyful Learning) I did with my dear friend and colleague, Alice Udvari-Solner,we share student-created games as a way to promote problem-solving, invite creativity, and meet the needs of all learners. In that section we provided these ideas for adapting games to respond to student needs:

  • Assign students different roles within their groups to make sure that each learner participates in a meaningful way (e.g., art director, information gatherer).
  • Provide sufficient examples of different types of games and allow students to review the rules and materials of some of the games that are kept in the classroom.
  • If some of your students want an additional challenge, you might allow them to design a computer game; students may need additional instruction in programming from a technology teacher for this task.
  • If some students are struggling to create an original idea (or if time is limited), let them use an existing game board and materials and have them adapt the rules and questions instead.
  • You can challenge all or some students by asking them to create a game that could possibly be produced for a larger group.  Older students, in particular, might be able to create a unique product that could be used across classrooms in the district or even in the local area.  Some students may even want to engage in market research or work with a local toy store to further develop their ideas.
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