Remake Learning Days: Board Game Design Workshop

On Thursday, May 12, I hosted an event as part of the Remake Learning Days initiative. The entire week of May 9-15 has been filled with events from participants in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, many focusing on STEM and STEAM events. I actually had heard about this months ago, but didn’t pay much attention. This was around the time the grant applications were being accepted. At the time, I had too much going on, and wasn’t sure what May might bring. In April, a colleague told me about her event and I was prompted to
create one of my own. Thankfully, I squeezed in just under the deadline with an event.

The event I created was a STEAM Board Game Design workshop. The goal was for families to come together and create their own board game during the event. All supplies would be provided to them, and by the end of the event, they would have a completed game to take home and play together. I was inspired to do this based on a project from when I was in 8th grade. Our teacher had us design a board game for West Virginia Monopoly, and I loved the chance to work on my own game and design every bit of it. My parents may still have the game somewhere at home; I’m not really sure. Thanks Mrs. Jordan!

Putting together this event was not just a one person undertaking. I really have to thank the school’s PTO team for helping gather all of the supplies that were needed for the event. They took my list and got ahold of every item on it. Without them, this event would not have been possible because I would not have been able to afford all of the supplies. I also have to thank my parents for letting me borrow a few board games to set up as examples during the event. These made great visual pieces.

I began the event by introducing the activity and discussing what families would be doing during the night. Each family had been given a guidelines page to help them as they worked on their project. Once I had explained the overview, families had free-range to work on their project as they wished. I rotated between all of the families, asking questions about ideas and prompting in cases where families might be stuck.

As expected, getting started was the hardest part. Some families had no idea where to begin brainstorming, which I had expected. Other families had an idea right away. It reminded me of being in the classroom. I made sure to talk with each family and discuss their thought processes. I only gave suggestions if the family asked for it. Most of the time they were looking for suggestions to jump start their ideas. Once everyone got started on an idea, things moved very quickly. Families talked and worked together, and the kids freely went and got the supplies they needed for their board games. By the time we finished, we have 5 completed board games. I’ve linked pictures below,along with a description of each game:

The Car Game: In this game, the goal is to race the other players to the finish line without crashing your car and going back to start!

Mario: Help Mario and his friends rescue Princess Peach from the castle at the end of the game and avoid all of the pitfalls along the way!

Candy Monopoly: Collect the most candies before the other players to win the game!

Going to Disney World: Get your family safely to Disney World before any of the other players by traveling from West Virginia to Florida!

Trivia: Travel the board answering questions about cartoons and kids’ TV shows!

Even though I had about half of my registered group show up, I feel that the event went over very nicely. The kids left in high spirits, and the families enjoyed themselves. I would certainly love to do something like it again for sure, as I know there’s a lot that can be done with board games in general. As a one night event though, it definitely made an impact. I’m glad I had the opportunity to participate!

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