West Hills students in 6th grade put their skills, knowledge, and creativity to the test by making and then playing board games in math class. From games resembling Jenga, Battleship, Sorry, and Candy Land, to totally original creations, the students embraced the challenge of embedding math concepts into their game designs. Student Nil Hellin notes, “In the process of making the game, we made some mistakes. And when we fixed it, we made a very fun game. You can’t make a game without making some mistakes!”
Kathy Jakubiak, who teaches 6th grade math, shares, “During our most recent unit on numerical expressions, I noticed that some of the students struggled with the concepts. The creation of games is a fantastic way to have fun with math, but also to solidify math concepts both for the game-makers and the game-players. When a student has to teach another student the rules of the game, and has to create answer keys, they are becoming stronger in their own math skills. And the players of the creative games utilize all of the skills we’ve just learned in the most recent unit.”
Students spent class time designing and creating the games, and the project culminated with a Game Day during which students played their own games as well as those designed by their classmates. One game creator from each group remained at their own game, to guide the other classmates on the rules of the game. This process was both fun and educational. Anna Zelmanov shares, “It’s like a board game you can find at Target! I think it was really cool because instead of just working in a textbook, we could do other things to have fun!” Elise Riden notes, “What I really enjoyed about making the games was it was really fun and you could express how creative you were. But it was also hard, because my group couldn’t really decide on what we wanted. There were a lot of good ideas!” Ari Moss says, “It was really fun to just build.” And William Porter notes, “I really liked the matching card game. I really think it could be a real math game in the future!”
Congratulations to the West Hills 6th graders for their creative, educational game-making, and to Jakubiak for inspiring these fun projects!