# Reflections on Game Day…

Arcade game day was awesome, everyone came up with great games that involved learning through play!  I was impressed by everyone’s level of creativity in coming up with a combination of both fun and learning.

Was your game one of chance or skill or a combination of both?  How did people respond to the style of play?
My game, EZ as Pie Fraction Action was a game of both skill and chance.  It begins with a bit of chance by spinning the wheel.  When the wheel stopped on a fraction, then came the skill part.  The player needed to create the fraction visually with a paper representation of a pie.  When the fraction is properly displayed with the paper pie, some skill was then required to tell me the percentage of that fraction.  The final part of the game required a bit luck by being able to throw jacks into a cup that displayed the percentage equivalent of the fraction that was selected. Judging from the various player reactions, it seemed like everyone enjoyed the game.  Even though some players couldn’t tell me the percent some fractions equaled, I had to keep giving them clues 🙂

Did your game allow for players to construct knowledge (through play they learned the lesson) or was it more of a showcase of knowledge (asking players for answers to questions would be a good example)?
My game can be used to learn about fractions by seeing it visually with the pie and it can also be used for rote memorization learning methods.  Once the players have a foundation of fractions, this game can be used to memorize the various fractions facts.  For this reason, it think the appropriate grade level is 4th or 5th grade.

How did the mechanics of the game turn out?  Was it slow, fast, cumbersome, just right.  Same with the rules.  What would you change and why?
The mechanics of the game turned out well.  The electric motor and battery pack kept it interesting.  The pace of the game was quick as you move from one part to the next.  This is especially useful for kids who have shorter attention spans.  If this game was implemented in a classroom, I would modify it to include a timer for each game.  As the kids get familiar with the fractions, the next step would be to make it second nature to them.  Sort of like 2 + 2 = 4 (no one thinks about that but everyone knows the answer)

Expectations
At the end of the first day, I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that I had to understand.  I had never blogged before and was not familiar with some of the concepts such as embedding a youtube video, let alone making a youtube video!   Through asking questions, researching and collaborating with my classmates, each day was more fun and interesting than the previous day.  I now have a twitter and pinterest account that I use daily.  Aside from the blogging and creating games in class, I really enjoyed reading and researching about different bloggers in my field.  This was one of the very few classes that I can say I’ll be referencing for years to come.  It will definitely play a role when I look for efficient methods of teaching as I begin my career as an elementary school teacher.

I now understand why the class was designed and constructed around the arcade.  If I had to put a theme around this winter session, it would be ‘Learning Through Fun’.  Since we are all [hopefully] future educators and former/present students.  We can see that when a topic is interesting it makes it easier to understand and learn.  For children, what better way to learn than to go to an arcade.

The assignment that I’ll never forget was the ‘make a tutorial assignment’.  Although it wasn’t as easy as it sounded, I enjoyed every minute of it.  Thank you Professor Smith for a wonderful experience!

# The World’s Fittest Athletes

The World’s Fittest Athletes Game

My game was called “The World’s Fittest Athletes” which was a game designed to teach the 5 components of physical fitness which are Cardiovascular Endurance, Muscle Strength, Flexibility, Muscle Endurance and Body Composition however for the sake of the game I left off body comp because it is a complex component to apply to physical fitness.  The idea of the game was to build a lesson around the Physical Fitness Components and associate them with various sports activities.

Thanks to the help of Prof. Smith I was able implement the components into a game similar to Dungeons & Dragons.  In my game I have a wheel of athletes who have a set level of 1 -18 which correspond to each of the 4 fitness components, the player then spins an arrow along the wheel to acquire an athlete, after that the player has 4 dice rolls to increase the levels of each component, depending on what they roll they receive that number in tickets, if they go over 18 they get nothing but if they get to the max of 18 they get an extra 10 bonus tickets…

The physical fitness components and the wheel of athletes

My game was a combination of both chance and skill as the player had to become aware of their athletes levels of the 4 fitness components and skillfully gage which component they were apply added points.  It was also a game of chance because when the player rolled the dice their was a chance they would either roll to low, to high or just right.  I liked implying both elements of skill and chance because it made the game more exciting.

I think my game allowed the player to construct knowledge because to start the game you had to learn the the physical fitness components and associate them with various sports activities.  Once the player became aware of the fitness components and the levels associated with their athlete they then had to estimate how to increase each level.  Therefore in this sense a player had to construct a knowledge of the fitness components.

The mechanics of the game I felt were pretty good,  the design or game play was a little complex to grasp for a first time player therefore I had to monitor/explain the player through their first go round, but after their first play they became pretty comfortable with the mechanics and game play.  You could say it was it bit cumbersome at first but if I explained it clearly the player would learn the game through play.  I would change the complexity of the different parts to the game such as the scoring system and the rules but I am a bit unsure of how I would change those elements.  The most efficient way I suppose would be writing the rules & objectives more clearly on the game.  I really liked designing this game and playing it too, I also think the students had fun playing it as well but I realized that I had to guide the player through their first play.  I would simplify the rules/objectives to allow the player to play without my guidance…

AC 230 Reflection

With concern to my expectations for this class, leading up to the class I was really unsure of what to expect. All I wanted to do was strive for an A+, take full advantage of all the knowledge presented and participate as fully as possible.  When the class started and Prof. Smith explained how the class was going to be I was a little concerned as I am not that tech savvy but I did expect myself to perform the course material, learn as much as I could and enjoy the whole process.  Overall I am pleased with the outcome and with concern to my expectations I felt I learned a lot of knowledge on computer/internet info and most importantly it helped think about ways to implement technology in my profession as a PE teacher. Every assignment we were asked to complete truly helped me increase my abilities as future teacher.

The concept of designing the class around building and education arcade where students create a lesson based game was an awesome idea and I think every class participant really enjoyed this class.  The education game assignments were super fun and the non game assignments I definitely appreciated the most were the DS106 assignments, both completing a DS106 and designing my own DS106 style assignment were very beneficial to me because it opened my eyes to the possibility of using creative technology based lessons as a PE teacher/coach/ trainer.

Overall this was great class for education majors and the way Prof. Smith designed this class was very knowledgeable, highly interactive and very fun.  Honestly I don’t think I would change any aspect of how the class was because I completely benefited from every   assignment, task and challenge… GREAT CLASS!!!!

# Game Time!

1. Was your game one of chance or skill or a combination of both? How did people respond to the style of play?   My game was a game of skill.  After using your knowledge of nutrition and the five food groups you had to use your shooting skills (or beer pong skills) in order to be successful at my game.  As a PE teacher I deemed it necessary to incorporate shooting skills.
2. Did your game allow for players to construct knowledge (through play they learned the lesson) or was it more of a showcase of knowledge (asking players for answers to questions would be a good example)?
My game required some prior knowledge about nutrition and the 5 food groups but it also constructed knowledge through play.  I believe my game allowed a player to gain knowledge by highlighting the percentages of certain food groups in which we consume on a daily basis.
3. How did the mechanics of the game turn out? Was it slow, fast, cumbersome, just right. Same with the rules. What would you change and why?  The mechanics of the game turned out fairly well.  Making the holes larger made it easier and more fun to play.  It played fast but it could use some improvements on ball return and retrieval.  If I had to change an aspect of the game it would be how a player would receive the food item and the ball return.

Reflection

To be honest, I thought this class was going to suck.  I pictured a professor lecturing about Microsoft Word and how to ‘Save As’, and how to use PowerPoint.  I was dead wrong.  This class was pretty awesome.  We built a website, went to Chuck E. Cheese and made an arcade!  I learned how to remix on GarageBand and create a Meem.  Prof. Smith is a cool dude and you can tell he puts his heart into this class and gives 100% everyday.  The class theme of “Education Arcade” is brilliant.  I have learned that having a theme makes the course much more interesting.  The class progressed and unfolded in a matter that fostered learning (despite the fast pace of the winter session).

# Mike the Builder

I decided to build my game in classic “Cain’s Arcade” style by using a cardboard box.  I traced 5 circles on top of the box and then carved them with a knife.  At first I used a 5” diameter circle.  I played the game with ping pong balls and could not get one in any of the holes.  I then decided to make the holes 8” diameters.  I played the game again and was able to sink 70% of my shots.

I wished to build a ball return but failed 🙁  I attempted many times but did not have the resources or tools needed to complete my task.  I bought some white wrapping paper to make my project look cooler.  I also made an angled ramp inside the box to allow the ping pong balls to collect in one area for easy retrieval.

# Nutrition and The 5 Food Groups

“Food Groups,” introduces students to the five food groups: breads, fruit, vegetable, protein, and dairy. Students should understand that the foods they eat are made up of different proportions of nutrients. Students will learn how to classify the foods they eat into the 5 food groups and break down foods into main ingredients.

To make this lesson a playable game I decided to incorporate the game mechanics of the Chuck E. Cheese game “Football Toss”.  Students will be shown a picture of a meal and they would have to decide which food groups the meal fits into.  They would then have to decide what percentage of the meal is carbs, proteins, dairy, oils, fruits and vegetables.  For example:  Steak, Potatoes, and Asparagus = 40% Meats/Poultry/Fish/Nuts , 40% Carbohydrates, and 20% Vegetables.  After deciding the percentages students would have to toss 10 balls in respective holes representing the 5 food groups.

I drew up a mock version of the game and asked my girlfriend Tricia for feedback.  She thought it was a great idea.

My first idea for the mechanics of the game was to have students identify which food groups a meal belonged to and throw one ball into each food group hole.  Prof. Smith gave me the idea to incorporate percentages to make it more challenging.

# Preparing My Educational Arcade Game!

To build my Rhyme-A-Dime game, I gathered materials that one can easily get access to. I started of with a low open box and covered it with computer paper to write the name of the game on it. I tried to make this game as colorful and exciting as possible. I had two chocolate containers that had 9 slots each, so I stapled both containers together to create an 18 coin slot game. Underneath each slot I taped a colorful circle which I cut out of index cards and then wrote a word on each circle. I chose words for 3rd grade level since I plan on becoming an elementary school teacher. I placed the slot part on the inside of the box near the side. I created the ramp out of styrofoam, then placed it with a slant inside the box so the word dimes can land inside the slots. Around the slot container I taped the sides to the box so the dimes won’t fall underneath the ramp. Since there are 18 coin slots, I labeled 18 dimes with words on a tape I could write on. I paired 18 rhyming words that need to be matched correctly by slidingor rolling the dime into the correct slot. The name Rhyme-A-Dime suits this game perfectly, so since I made its name rhyme which is the concept of the game, I decided to use actual dimes. After connecting the ramp to the container, I got creative and came up with the idea of adding lanes to the ramp with halves of index cards for a cleaner aim to the correct slot. While building this arcade game I realized how much fun I was having and how many ideas were coming to mind to make the game even better. Fun building process!

# Reflections On the “Whack A Mode” Game

Yesterday was my last AC230 class meeting. This meeting was very special, Prof. Smith organized an arcade party with all the educational games we had designed for the class. Students had a chance to play with each others games and win prizes. Here I talk about how things went with my game.

The goal of a Whack A Mode player was to recognize the color that appeared the most and to whack the craft sticks which represented that color under the least time possible. My game demanded recognition skills and fast hands from the player. However, everyone who played the game was very comfortable and played the game very well.

Whack A Mode allowed players to get an informal introduction to what is called ‘the mode’ in statistics. The players could have played the game without knowing what the mode was and still win. The game was designed for a first grade classroom and could be used as an attention getter for any lesson on the mode.

The game turn out to be very easy and quick to play. Most players were finished playing within 10 seconds of starting. Players were able to recognize the mode very quickly. Which in part could’ve been due to the fact that the crafts sticks were uncovered and players might have been able to recognize the mode in advance, from afar, even before they  decided to play the game. To make this game more competitive, I would have to cover it while no one is playing. Also, I would have to add more craft sticks to it. More Craft sticks would definitely make the game more challenging.

Before I register for this course I thought that the class was going to be a very boring and demanding computer course, just like the ones I had previously taken at my old school. This is the reason why I decided to take this course in the winter, to get it over with. However, from the very first day I realized that this class was going to be very different than what I had expected. Prof. Smith gave us a very inspiring introduction to the course by showing us a video of Cain’s Arcade and since that day I’ve been excited with all the classwork done in class. I loved the idea of the class being designed around construction of an arcade. It gave me something to look forward to.

My favorite non-game oriented assignment was DS 106 assigment called 911, Whats Your Emergency?  In this assignment, I was required to create a recording of a funny 911 call. I decided to create the recording with the help of my sister and it turn out to be hillarious. Overall, I enjoyed the experience of creating an educational game and I am looking forward to creating many more for my future classrooms. I wouldn’t change anything about the class, It was very interesting, fun and I learned a lot.

# Reflecting on Our Education Arcade

My Academic Computing 230 class just wrapped up its Education Arcade full of great games, great people and even greater prizes! While most of the games revolved around the subject of Mathematics, my game was a different kind.  It was so much fun! Check out a player taking a shot at my game Make A Meal.

My classmate was such a great sport! Tons of fun.

I would say my game was a combination of both skill and luck. You could see in the video the Professor made a joke saying that my game required serious athletic ability which isn’t necessarily true, but it sure was a funny line. If it happened to be that the player of the game had great aim and was athletic, it might be easier for him or her to get the ring around the bottles. That’s where I can see the element of skill fitting in. On the other had, if a contestant decided to come and play my game and they didn’t have much hand-eye coordination amongst other things, then the concept of making a meal would be a lot harder to accomplish. This is why I say that the game involves some luck as well because with this kind of contestant, they’d have to just toss it and hope and pray it landed around the body of a bottle with the correct label. Therefore, whether my game is of luck or pure skill depends on the player.

Everyone who came around to play my game seemed very excited about the action component it involved. It was also very exciting because the players panicked a little every time the amount of tosses they had went down as they still hadn’t completed their meal. One thing I heard a lot was that my game was pretty hard. I don’t know if that was said jokingly, but  I hope so. After hearing that once or twice, I started modifying my game. I gave each player more tosses so instead of 6, maybe I gave them 8 and I gave the children about 10. Another thing I did was move the line closer and at certain times, I rearranged my bottles by spreading them out so the ring had a greater chance of not being obstructed by a bottle nearby.

Even though I thought my game was more steered towards showcasing knowledge, I think it also allowed players to construct knowledge about which foods belonged in certain food groups. As an example, I’ll use something I observed during the Arcade. I asked a player to make a meal using fruits, but no vegetables and she tossed the ring around the bottle labeled “carrot”. With her making that mistake, I got to explain to her that the carrot is a part of the vegetable food group as she thought it was a fruit. So with players placing wrong foods in the food groups, it allowed them to learn the lesson by playing. After that, some of the same players who made mistakes came back around to play Build A Meal again to get it right. Now that’s learning.

Other than some minor things, I would keep my game the way it was. I would change the labels I made. Because I wrote them with the only marker I could find at the time, silver, it was hard for some of the players to search out the meats and other products in the game. The bright light reflecting off of the metallic marker made it worse for them as well. Something else I would change is the ring. I would have loved to purchase an actual ring, multiple as well so that I didn’t have to go fetch the ring after every toss. This would also help keep track of how many tosses the player already took. I was keeping count with my fingers while trying to remember which parts of the meal were made already. I think my particular game was pretty fast paced so maybe I would like to give each player more chances at making meals, more than 6 tosses to slow it down.

The silly moves (tosses) with my game made it very playful and full of laughs and I think that is one very important part of an arcade, having fun. In our case – being able to be a kid!

Because I feel this post is getting too long – check out Part II of this post as I’ll comment on some of my classmates’ games and reflect on the class (:

# 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.

# Arcade day (game day) and Reflection

My game Aim and Build it healthy, was to teach children how to build a healthy meal and identify what is healthy and what is not. The kids who played the game came back even the students came back as well and wanted to play again was to obviously win more tickets, but to also to aim better and not get the ball stuck or landed on the junk food parts of the board. But overall it looks like everyone had fun and enjoyed the game.

1. Was your game one of chance or skill or a combination of both? How did people respond to the style of play?

My game was based on both of skill of aiming right and chance that it lands on the healthy sections and not the junk food/pizza and fries. After several times of trying it, the players responded to my style in a positive way of playing by trying to aim and make sure it landed right and  wanted to try again and again even though their turn was over, but they had lots of fun.

2. Did your game allow for players to construct knowledge (through play they learned the lesson) or was it more of a showcase of knowledge (asking players for answers to questions would be a good example)?

My game was more towards the direction of the players to construct knowledge, learn,  and challenge themselves at the same time to see which food groups they need to build a healthy meal and focus on that part of the game and try to win.

3. How did the mechanics of the game turn out? Was it slow, fast, cumbersome, just right. Same with the rules. What would you change and why)

The mechanics of my game were great. There was no timing involved, the rules were to focus on aiming the ball and landing it the right spot on the board, and they get 3 balls, but towards the end I made it 4 balls to land on what they players thought would be the correct way to build a healthy meal. One thing I should have changed and will do is to give adults and children separate distances to throw the balls on the board this way the distance will vary if the aimed and it landed on either the healthy foods or the junk foods.

My reflection:

I though this class was going to be boring because the other ed classes I took were long  and boring and I thought it was going to be the same, but it turns out that it was a totally different class altogether. I learned so many things in this class such as how to blog and embed videos, music, photos, movies, etc. I learned how to incorporate technology with education and how to make my health lessons fun and exciting and not have students fall asleep or not pay attention in class. In such a class where we had about only 3 weeks or so, I learned a lot and it was fun and I didn’t realize class went by so fast. i have to say this class and Professor M.B. Smith are one of my top favorite and best classes I have ever taken here at York, thank you Professor Smith and it was an honor and a privilege being in your class this winter semester.