Students Bring Curiosity and Passion to a New Middle School STEAM Elective

By Ms. Michelle Statella

Mission Possible: You are a game board designer and you have been assigned the task of creating a board game and packaging it in a way that will wow board game lovers.

This was the assignment for our pilot group of seventh grade students enrolled in Board Game Design, an elective that gave students the opportunity to combine art, technology, and digital design.

It all began with students bringing in and discussing their favorite games from home.  They imagined what they wanted from their own games and brainstormed how to create a game they would really want to play.  From there, students entered the maker phase, where they designed a prototype using traditional art materials. Together they developed, tested, and refined their game ideas. Eventually, students used editing software such as Illustrator and Tinkercad to create their final boards and game pieces.  

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Experiential and project based learning opportunities such as this allow students to create using a variety of skills in a situation that feels like the “real world”.  Traditional classroom walls were removed and students were permitted to rotate between the art classroom and the digital arts lab, depending on their needs. The class engaged in collaborative learning to solve problems or answer questions. Students benefited not only from the collaboration between two teachers – Mrs. Filippone and myself – but also from the varying creative and skill-based strengths of the collective group in order to develop their own individual ideas and designs.

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Through the design and manufacture of their own signature board games, students learned the skills necessary to move from concept to the creation of a successful visual final product. They learned that the design process along with skills acquired in digital media and studio arts makes the mission very possible.