School projects are great ways for teachers to assess students’ mastery of overarching concepts in a far more creative fashion than through a summative assessment. To this effect, one truly creative project that can spark students’ imaginations is to assign them the task of creating their own board game. While students may get excited about the board game project, some may have difficulty figuring out where to get started.
There are endless ways to create board games for school projects. However, the rules should be developed with a subject-specific focus to help the student with concept mastery.
If this advice is still too vague, it can be helpful to use an existing board game as a template from which to get started. From there, it can be straightforward to incorporate the most relevant subject material into the updated rules and new design of the game, making for a fun and educational project for designers and players alike!
Board Game Ideas for a School Project
When designing board games for school projects, it is helpful to divide games into subject areas. This will give students a better idea of how the rules will develop, which type of materials they will need, and how the game can tie into relevant course material to demonstrate project mastery.
Math Board Games
Math board games are all about numbers, making dice the king of the math board game. You can create boards in which students add or multiply the results of their rolls to make progress toward their end goal, or you can divide the board into a series of unit fractions, with students unable to advance to the next section of the board until they successfully add the results of their rolls to make a unit whole.
As with most board games, it creates an additional element of intrigue to have each space labeled with specific instructions on a task to perform. It is best to use these spaces for “draw-a-card” instructions, as you do not want players to memorize that specific spaces mean a particular answer to a math fact.
Finally, the coordinate grid makes for an easy board for students beginning to learn about algebra. Using the classic board game Battleship as a template, students can use a combination of dice, spinning wheels, or simply their own guesses to plot points on the coordinate grid as they work their way toward victory.
Language Arts Board Games
When studying a book in class, the plot and characters can be used as the basis around which to create the game. Spaces on the board can correspond to key places or events in the book, with draw cards used to answer questions about the plot.
If you are having students write stories of their own, a board game can be an excellent way for them to introduce the story to their classmates by making their own little world. This makes the game of Life a solid choice to use as a template when looking for a place to get started.
Board games can also be a fun way to master grammar and spelling. Use spaces on the board as instructions for players to perform specific editing tasks or have a pool of suffix or prefix cards from which players can draw to form new words.
Social Studies Board Games
Social studies is one of the subjects most tailor-made to turn into a board game. In fact, the game of Monopoly can be easily revised and edited to correspond to any specific city, place, era, or kingdom throughout history.
Other ways to incorporate social studies concepts into a board game are through matching facts from corresponding cards to complete a historical figure’s profile, using a map of a particular region as the board itself, or using tokens and other material property to help players barter and make game progress using economic principles.
Science Board Games
Science board games may be the most difficult to create as part of a school project, as recreations of anatomical and chemical content are likely too intricate for students performing a DIY project (think of the classic game Operation). However, if you are in a STEM class or have access to a 3D printer, it may be possible to create scientific board pieces as part of a larger educational project.
However, one possible idea for more advanced science classes is to develop something using the periodic table. The periodic table itself kind of looks like the surface of a board game, and there are several ways students can use dice rolls and fact cards to advance along the table’s various classes and families.
Building a board game is an exciting way for students to demonstrate their mastery of a particular school concept. If stuck for ideas, it is helpful to look at the rules of popular board games and evolve the new game toward a specific school subject. Using a combination of dice, space instructions, tasks, and memory cards, there are endless ways for students to create a board game that everyone in the class will enjoy.