If you haven’t implemented student-made board games in your elementary classroom yet, you must keep reading this blog post. They are a great tool to increase student engagement during times of the school year when students’ minds are wandering like right before winter holidays and summer vacation. They successfully engage students in learning, create an opportunity to practice and review previously-taught skills, and offer students time and space to use their creativity and problem solving skills to create something of their own. That sounds like a big win!
This blog post will answer the following questions about student-made board games:
- What are student-made games?
- Why should I incorporate student-made activities in my elementary classroom?
- How do I implement student-made games in my room?
- What are some tips for using student-made games in my classroom?
- Can you share some strategies for holding students accountable when they are playing board games?
- What are some common obstacles with these activities and how do I overcome them?
- Can you share some ideas for using student-made games?
What are Student-Made Board Games?
Student-made board games are a fun way to assess students’ learning for any subject. Students create the questions, the board game, its pieces, and the written directions for gameplay. Board games are a creative way to review or extend lesson objectives. Students must think through how to play the game and how to make it engaging for other students to play. Student-made games are very engaging and can be used all year long for other students to review and play in stations or centers. These games could also be used as portfolio pieces for an individual student.
Why Use Student-Made Board Games?
First of all, students LOVE making board games. Student engagement soars because they love getting the opportunity to be creative and make a game that is fun to play. These games are excellent for showing mastery of unit skills or objectives for any subject, making them easy to implement multiple times throughout the year if you wish. Student-made games showcase various skills like process writing and grammar skills for the directions, subject mastery for questions and answers created, and creativity for the board game and its pieces. You can’t go wrong with this activity!
How to Implement Student-Made Board Games
Here are 7 steps for how to implement student-made board games:
- Decide which objectives for students to show mastery with.
- List concrete expectations related to their board game. Use a rubric for this.
- Show examples of previously created student-made board games.
- Think about if they will work individually, in partners, or in groups.
- Have students brainstorm and outline their game. Then have them show their ideas to you for approval before moving on.
- Students should create a board game that is easy to play and engaging for other students. They will need to include questions with correct answers, clear and concise directions, and an easy-to-follow game board. These things will need to be completed with neat handwriting or typing so that it is easy for other students to play their game correctly.
- Once games are created, it’s time to play! Create peer review sheets that those who play their game can fill out. This way, the game-makers can get feedback to improve their game if needed.
5 Tips for Using Student-Made Board Games in Your Classroom
- Student-made board games are my favorite ways to sum up a unit and differentiate for all students.
- Partner students in a way that will let them all shine, either by ability or another way.
- Give students a time limit and set a due date for this project. You can have a game playing day on the date it’s due for extra motivation. You could even have treats or prizes to make it extra special!
- Have students brainstorm and outline the game first. Then have them show it to you to be sure they get off on the right foot.
- You can utilize student-made board games as a whole class at the end of a unit, as a project for a small group of partners, or as an individual station or center assignment.
How to Hold Students Accountable for Student-Made Board Games
In any student-led assignment, some students may struggle to demonstrate their best work. Frequently review the expectations and rubric to make sure students are clear on the expectations. Remind them that their peers will be playing the games and to put in their best effort for game day.
Another way to hold students accountable if you are having student groups create games is to give each student a specific job. This way, everyone has a job and responsibility. Just make sure those jobs still show mastery of the skill. For example, you could have every student in the group in charge of 10-15 questions with answers, one student in charge of board game design, another student in charge of writing clear directions, and another in charge of revising and editing the directions.
Common Obstacles for Using Student Made Board Games
Since this is more of a creative, independently led project, some students may struggle to demonstrate their best work or stay on task during the creation of their student-made board game. Having a rubric and clear expectations helps teachers to ensure students are participating and doing their best. Also, students generally find this activity engaging because their friends will be playing their games after the game is complete!
If some students struggle with organization, this could be problematic to keep all the materials for their board games in one place and organized for the next time they work on it. Having a system for organization of all the materials is helpful for all students.
10 Ideas for Using Student Made Board Games
Try one of these make your own board game ideas the next time you have your students create their own board game!
- Math facts
- Math word problem creation and practice
- Vocabulary practice
- Reading comprehension skills
- Unit review for any subject
- Test prep for any subject
- Advanced student project for any subject
- Spelling practice
- Sight word practice
- A novel study or review
Student-Made Board Game Project
What is the Create Your Own Board Game Project?
The packet includes printables for students of all levels to create their own games and concept review activities and gives teachers editable printables so they may quickly make custom games, hands-on activities and centers for their students… so much more fun than worksheets! This product was designed to provide busy teachers with an easy tool for making learning fun.
This resource includes editable files so you can create your own games and centers so your students can enjoy hands-on activities instead of worksheets. I’ve included editable files so you can quickly type in your own questions, equations, spelling/vocabulary words, content trivia, and more.
What is Included in the Create a Board Game Project?
- student task card / directions
- scoring rubric
- 9 game boards
- differentiated student direction writing activity stationary
- blank foldable dice
- traditional foldable dice
- 4 styles of spinners (just use a pencil & paperclip)
- matching game cards
- game question cards
How can this Design Your Own Board Game Resource be Used?
- early finisher task
- class project
- enrichment activity