Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

Board game inquiry: Developing writing skills

Video Help

Duration: 3:19

Raroa Intermediate School teacher, Chris Johnston and some of his students talk about how writing rules to play the games they designed improved their descriptive writing. Taking this practical approach meant students tested their instructions with their peers to see how well they could follow them and play their games. Stephen, a student with dyslexia, created a video of how to play the game as it was a more practical approach for him. Students describe how they used SeeSaw to reflect on their learning.

Games as a learning context involves maths through geometry and measurement. Students had to design the game box to fit the board and pieces. By calculating how often players would succeed at something involved probability. Deciding whether to change the odds by using one dice or two or adding a stack of cards, which also give numbers. Chris explains how he creates a cross-curricular approach by adding in constraints such as the game must retell a problem from history. 

Audio Visual description

Title slide:
Board game inquiry: Developing writing skills
enabling e-Learning

Filmed at Raroa Intermediate Normal School

Annika, year 8 student
So the purpose of our board making inquiry was so that we could practice our descriptive writing and making sure that we know how to write rules and that people can understand them properly.
Annika and Molly seated in the classroom facing the camera.
Alphie, year 7 student
Some of the key things that I improved on was probably writing instructions. We spent maybe three or four weeks learning on how to write them and how to make them better. We just kept playing the game while we were writing the instructions so we know what we needed to write down.
Alphie, seated in classroom, facing camera.
Chris Johnston, teacher
I've got one student who is on the dyslexic spectrum and what was great for him in this project is it gave him a lot of success moments. He was able to physically manipulate things when he encountered challenges in terms of writing the rules. He then started to problem solve and made a video of him explaining the rules instead which allowed other people to play the game that way.
Chris, seated in classroom facing camera.
Two students in classroom moving game pieces.
Eight students meeting around classroom table.
Stephen, year 8 student
We actually did a video because it was so hard to actually put the rules down like this because it didn't actually explain the rules quite well.
Stephen seated in classroom, facing camera.
We had some students who made it to the very end of the process and they had a beautiful looking board and the game pieces had been really expertly crafted and they hadn't played their game. So on the day of the café night, they tried the game and they said. It's actually not that fun.
Student holding wooden game pieces with carved details.
Molly, year 8 student
We had all our pieces on the very last day that we were meant to. And so we played it and we found out that it was really boring. Now we had tried so many times to get the right rules. We had to change a lot of the rules on the last day but we got there in the end.

Annika and Molly, seated in classroom, facing camera.

Molly showing written rules of game.

In terms of assessment or keeping track of how students are learning SeeSaw was a really important tool. So at each step of the process they were able to capture small reflections which said what they had been working on, what feedback they got, and what they might change for next time. And because they got that at each step of the process all the way from immersion to prototyping, at the end they had a really strong design story.
Seesaw app shown in tablet and mobile device.

Chris, seated in classroom, facing camera.
Every time that we made a little piece for our game we would post and reflect on it on SeeSaw. So when we made the board, we would then take a photo of it and write a reflective caption, what we did well and what we think we could improve on for next time.
Annika and Molly, seated in classroom, facing camera.
Two students using tablets.

In terms of outcomes for maths and literacy and things like social studies there are lots of cool ways that you can link it in. One of the important things about creativity in this space is that adding some constraints is often better for students. So adding a constraint which says it's got to retell a problem from history, or saying you’ve got to create a game that fits this purpose is quite useful because it gives students something to jump off with.

A lot of the math work that they did out of it was either coming down to geometry and measurement in terms of how they create the actual things that will go into a physical box and make sure they all fit. Or things like probability. How often do you want someone to succeed at something? Do you want to use one dice as a rule? Or do you want to use two? Is that different from adding a stack of cards which also give you numbers? So there’s heaps of different ways that you can play with it. If you spend more time on it you can make it a whole year long inquiry into this one thing.

Chris, seated in classroom, facing camera.

Students constructing game pieces from wood.

Tags: English, Primary, Cross-curricular, Writing, Board games, Integrated curriculum