Getting Started with Engagement Games A presentation deck for training educators on the Project MASH engagement games process, from the Engagement Lab. 90-minute version Quick Play: Mod Rock, Paper, Scissors TIME 15 minutes Modification of existing game elements is a common strategy for creating new games. Most of us know the game, “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” 1. Work in groups of 3-5 to mod the game to make it more fun. For example, you could change the rules, or the kinds of actions players take, the theme (e.g., using aliens, bombs, or magic spells instead of rock/paper/scissors). 2. Play another group’s mod. Today’s explorations Introduce engagement games. (15 min.) Experience games first-hand. Understand. Do. Share & Reflect. (60 min.) Activate academic connections. (15 min) What is play? Play is activity in which means are more valued than ends. Play is non-literal, imaginative, marked off in some way from reality (aka magic circle). Play & Games And for children, the distinction between play and “real life” can be blurry or change on a whim. Games structure the “magic circle” of play with goals and guidelines for action. Games help us harness the power of play to: • Foster learning and empathy (which are necessary to develop strategy) • Build social norms (i.e., competition and cooperation) Elements of a game Objective and feedback: What does it mean to win? How to players evaluate their progress? Actions/mechanics: What actions can players take, and how does this move the game forward? What are the obstacles? Clear rules/boundaries: What are the limits on player choice? What games are/are not allowed? ...and room to play: uncertainty, choice, strategy and interaction Ready to create your own game? Explore engagement games with an activity from Project MASH. Race to the End An Engagement Games Activity from Project MASH Many games, both board games and physical games, involve a race to the end. Players are confronted with certain obstacles and given constraints about how they can move forward, and then the race is on! In this activity you’ll create your own Race to the End game. 11 Define Your game board (space as small as a piece of paper or as large as the room) Theme: What is your game about? Objective and feedback: What does it mean to win? How do players evaluate their progress? Actions/mechanics: What actions can players take, and how does this move the game forward? What are the obstacles? Clear rules/boundaries: What are the limits on player choice? What games are/are not allowed? Name of your game Create It! TIME 25 min Step 1: Create your game. Step 3: Play-test it. Step 4: Write a description of your game so others can play: What is the goal? How do you win? What are player actions, a.k.a. mechanics? What rules guide these actions? Project Share: Play! TIME 10 minutes Each group plays the game created by another group. Reflection & Discussion TIME 5 minutes Consider your group’s design and the other group’s design: What elements of each worked for you? What would you like to change? Common Core Connections TIME 15 minutes What connections do you see between game design and the skills identified in the Common Core State Standards? What connections do you see between game design and the knowledge foci supported by the Common Core State Standards? Some grade-level content connections include… Math: Modeling, e.g., the probability of a certain outcome, the path of the basketball Science: “The science behind it,” e.g., why we get tired when we run, what materials hold up well during play, the workings of the terrain or climate Language Arts: Write about the game, the design process, or the play process. Social Studies: Understand group dynamics throughout the design process, draw connections to historical or contemporary social processes Engagement games offer an approach to teaching and learning that is at the heart of Project MASH, a social network for educators, students, and the organizations that serve them. Visit www.projectmash.org for student activities and projects from the Engagement Lab and others that rely on design thinking and other unique teaching strategies.