Build A Meal in the Making

The Education Arcade took place on Wednesday and it turned out GREAT! I didn’t have a chance to document my game before the arcade, but I’d still like to share the concept behind my arcade game and how I came to building “Build A Meal”.

Build A Meal

Almost everyone I know calls me a “health freak”. Nutrition is a topic in health that is very important to me. I try my hardest to practice what I preach when it comes to living a healthy young lifestyle. I’m a Health Education K-12 major so I guess it’s not so surprising that I chose to build an arcade game around the subject.

I tried to revolve Build A Meal around a famous game at Coney Island — I’m sorry I don’t know what the name is, but I have the concept of the game down: the player gets five balls which equals 5 chances to aim and throw them at pins – sort of like bowling pins. Depending on how they do, they get a choice of a stuffed animal as a prize. This is how I got to the set up of my own game.

Thinking of a game to use in the arcade was very difficult for me and for a while, I had no idea what I was going to come up with. There wasn’t much building to do for my game, but I’ll take you through the steps I took.

First, I collected water bottles. We go through many of them a day at my house so finding them to use for the game wasn’t hard at all. In the image above, you can see that the bottles are different shapes and certain food groups have more bottles than the others. This is because I based how many bottles to put for each food group on the minimum daily servings are recommended for that specific group based on The USDA Food Pyramid. So here’s the breakdown:

Grains – 6 bottles (minimum 6 servings recommended per day)

Meat, Fruit, Dairy – 2 bottles for each food group

Vegetables – 3 bottles

Use sparingly – 1 bottle

For a total of 16 bottles. I also used that category of fats and oils as a way of giving 1 ticket to the people who played my game and didn’t succeed at making a meal. A ticket just for the attempt at participating. (This is because you’re not supposed to have much of it at all so I wasn’t using it in making any of the meals).

On each bottle I put a label of a food that would be found in that food group. For this I just used memo sheets, a marker and tape. For example, for grains, I had cereal, pasta, quinoa and others.

The learning objective behind my game is to get students to be able to categorize which foods belong in each of the 5 food groups. The goal of the game is to make a meal. Participants had to stand behind a line and use a ring and toss it around the bottles where the label matched the food group I asked for. Here’s an example. Make a meal that consists of 1 grain, 1 meat and 2 vegetables. The player would get 6 tosses to get the ring around items that belonged in those food groups. Each one they got correct earned them a specific number of tickets.

At first, I thought my game was pretty easy, but during the arcade, some of my classmates were telling me that it was pretty hard. Another fault was the ring used in the game. I looked around everywhere trying to purchase a wide ring to make the game a bit easier, but I had no luck. Here I go thinking that it would be a popular kids item for playing. The ring I ended up bringing to the arcade was not wide enough so it was hard to get it around any bottle so, I had to improvise and make a new ring using arcade tickets rolled up into a circle with a little weight to it. I used about 50 tickets to make the ring for the game.

Although my game wasn’t so “techy” in the end, I think it made a great educational arcade game.

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