This Week At STEAM: Week 2 Gaming Week Block 3 2017/18

This block we moved the order of the weeks around slightly.  This week was Gaming Week where the students could experience a variety of different games.  The intent of the activities was to increase the student’s familiarity with the 4C’s and proficiency in writing reflections.

The day began with a Design Challenge.  The students were tasked with creating a structure that was a tall as possible while balancing on top of a beach ball. The structure had to be self-supporting – no student could hold it and it could not be attached to the ball or the table.  The students came up with their plans individually at first, following the Design Thinking Process.  To encourage collaboration with new people the students were put into random groups.  It was interesting to see the different dynamics that occurred.  All teams were able to balance their structure on the ball.  Some teams built incredibly tall structures, but this was risky because they tended to be unstable.  Other teams opted for a shorter, more stable structure.  The tallest structure ended up being 160cm.  After the challenge we debriefed on the activity.  We talked about what worked, what didn’t work, and what we could do to make the structure better.  Similar to the first week the students self-assessed how well they thought their groups collaborated.  They had a 1-20 scale, 1 being not working together at all to 20 being a perfect group.  They talked about how they took on different roles and what they thought was a success. We also discussed what they could do differently. It was neat to note that the group scores increased over the prior week even though the students were with others, and not from their own schools.  It was awesome to see new friendships form.

After lunch the students spent the afternoon playing games!  Well, not quite – there’s always a catch.  The games included Battleship, Uno Dare, Scrabble Slam, Jenga, Blokus, Sudoku, Hali-Gali, Topple, Guess Who, Hedbanz, and Minecraft Education.  The students were allowed to self-select what game they wanted to play and who they wanted to play with.  This is one aspect of Personalized Learning -Voice and Choice.  They were encouraged to play with students from other schools, not just their own.  The exception was Minecraft, which had sign up times owing to the limited amount of computers active.  Once the students completed a game they had to complete a mini-reflection.  In the reflection they had to choose which of the 4C’s (Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication) was best represented in the game and how they used it.  One group even went so far as to use the KEVA planks they found in the room to create a game.  They came up with rules and criteria for winning.  The game involved building a structure using a pre-determined amount of blocks without the structure from toppling.  They decided that the tallest tower would be the winning criteria.

To encourage reflection writing, we gamified the classroom.  Class Dojo was used to record the number of reflections written and it was displayed on a screen in the class.  This spurred the competitive nature among some of the students to see who could complete the most reflections.

After all the games were completed, we discussed the different ways the 4C’s were used. The students were quite surprised at how many connections the 4C’s made to the different games, and to life in general.  The students then completed a final reflection on the entire day’s learning.

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