G9 Game on! A

Welcome to our first class on our new unit.

Class 10 ( 9N March 24th

1. Writing your research into the Design brief, A4

Now that you have completed the research, you need to write in one page what you are planning on doing in this unit. So, we are rewriting A1 but incorporating all the research we have done. By research we mean:

  • the justification in A1
  • the research in the appendix following the research plan, A2
  • the research you did by analysing other awareness campaigns, A3

Now it is the time to make sense of it all. After we read your Design brief we should know:

  • WHAT kind of game you are going to make
  • what materials you are planning on using or what tools or skills you have learned during your research that will guide you.
  • SUSTAINABILITY: how you plan on being sustainable
  • WHY: the topic you are trying to teach t, include any data and tell us why you chose this one
  • WHO: is your audience and provide any research you have done about your audience
  • WHO is your client and provide any research you have done about your audience

The Design brief has 4 paragraphs:

To get 7-8 you need to develop a design brief which presents the analysis of the research. What that means is that when you write your sentences you need to say what you are planning on doing and  why, based on what you learned on your research.

These are some examples that I share with grade 8s:

I am going to make a 3D sculpture using recyclable materials. According to my research on Sciencing.com “List of materials that are recyclable” I am planning on using newspapers, paper and cardboard, since they are easy to recycle after the exhibit is done.

My piece is going to raise awareness about the pollution in Beijing. According to the Ohio State Press books, Beijing has one of the worst air-pollution worldwide and “The number of motor vehicles on Beijing’s roads has doubled to 3.3 million with nearly 1200 added each day. Emissions from motorized vehicles contribute to nearly 70% of the city’s air pollution. The four most dangerous pollutants that are emitted include: sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (e.g. PM10). With my piece and my poem I plan on raising awareness about how our transportation decisions affect our city air, and try convince people to use public transportation.

3. There is no checkpoint for A4, only oral comments

The feedback to your A2 and appendix should be enough to let you know if you are on track, but if you need more support please call me during class or ARE.

4. Summative A

As you can see on Managebac, the final summative A is due at the beginning of next class, please come ready to upload. There will be no resubmission for Criteria A.  Your grade will be posted on the Term 3 report.

Class 9 (9N March 19th, 9O&9L March 22nd, 9Q March 23rd)

1. Continue working on your research

At the beginning of the class you should have completed 3 questions on the appendix, use the rest of the class to complete the rest.

If you had questions for Ms Nicole, you can access her answers here.

2. Upload to Managebac your Appendix

I will check that you completed your research and are ready to work on the Design brief (A4) next class. A4 will be the last task and we will upload the summative right after.

3. Finishing up A1,A2,A3

Make sure you have finished and are clear about the 3 first tasks. Ask me any questions you may have since we will be uploading soon. Oral comments during class or ARE.

Class 8 (9N March 16th, 9O&9Q March 17th, 9L March 18th)

1. Check comments on MB to A2

Please read your comments to your questions/sources. You need 6-8 approved questions to start doing your research. Remember 2 things:

  • The research needs to be done on another file: the Appendix
  • Please don’t spend more than 20 minutes per research question. At the end of this class you should have research 3-4 questions, so you can finish next class.

2. Spend today the class researching the 3-4 more important questions

Write your findings in the appendix, in your own words. Please do not copy and paste. Include any graphics or images that help your research.

Cite your sources using MLA. Go here to easybib if you need help.

3. Primary sources: client

The lovely primary school science teachers prepared these videos for you answering your questions. Enjoy!

1. what do grade 4s and 5s know about climate change?
2. how can we explain it to them simply?
3. what are the areas of climate change that can interest them more?
3. what kind of games are they interested in?
4. do you know of any educational games that you recommend for this age?

You will need to follow the links and sign into your keystone office account.

Watch here Ms. Newey’s answers

Watch here Mr. Reuben answer.

4. Research and A4

As you know, you are not getting graded for your reserach (that is why. it is not part of the summative), what you are getting graded on is how well you bring your research into your Design brief. How you explain what you are going to do with what you have learned.

You can be working on both together.

5. Next class: Research 2/2

Next class we will continue with the research and you will be asked to upload your Appendix at the end of the class to check that you have completed all your research and your questions and sources are meaningful. Based on your uploads, you will be invited to LL or HH if you need more time to work on this.

If you have not completed 3 questions by the end of the class, please finish them as homework. Summative A deadline is coming soon, so please start finishing all the parts you will need. So far we have done A1, A2 and A3.

Class 7 (9N March 11th, 9O&9L March 12th, 9Q March 15th)

Today we will start our research process, by coming up with research questions. At this point you are clear about what you want to teach primary school students and you have been looking and playing games to get ideas.

Remember: good inquiry questions are open. They are not yes/no answers.

1. Practicing coming up with questions

Let’s go to menti.com to write some questions together.

2. Selecting your questions 

Now, it is the time to select your 6-8 questions. Make sure you cover different areas of research. Ideally you would have one question per area. Minimum you should have at least 4 areas of these below:

Area 1:  Understanding the terms in the design task. Questions such as: what makes a good game? What is the difference between toys and games? Since game not only means video game, what other opciones are out there?

Area 2: Climate change. Any question to help you understand more about your topic.

Area 3: Audience. What do grade 4 or 5s know about climate change? What kinds of games they like to play? What degree of complexity can they understand? How long can they concentrate for? (also from Baker)

Area 4: client. How will parents know if their kid is learning with a game? What are then favorite educational games by parents and teachers? Why do they want their kids to learn about climage change?

Area 5: the connection to the real word and the global context: consumerism. What is our responsibility as designers (see Victor Papanek for this) or who is doing real things for then environment (see the work of Raul Alvarez for ghost fishng)

– Area 6: making. What do you need to research further or learn in orden to make the game you want you make? or How to make a board game? (have a look at this link Jerry sent), How to use the laser cutter? How to use the 3D printer?

– Area 7: learning through play. Here you can learn more about educational movements that defend playing as the most powerful form of learning for primary school kids. Peter’s Gray Free to Play or his TED talk are a good start. Montessori or Steiner schools defend a similar model. Can you learn more by spending all day playing instead of sitting at school doing homework? This is the base of our Design unit, also the gamification movement inside education. Can we teach in more fun ways? This How kids learn through play is a nice start.

3. Writing the research plan, A2

Once you have selected your questions, it is time to bring them into the research plan.

What to write in each column:

1. Write the 5-6 questions you chose to investigate for your project.

2. What area? (see the areas in blue above: design task, audience, making…)

3. Indicate order of importance: 1 (most important) – 6 (less important)

4. Why is it important to research this? Explain briefly

5. Is it primary or secondary research?

6. Where are you going to find the answer? Write the name of the person, the book, the website…

7. Why does this source (person, book, website) is good? How do they know the answer? Why are they reliable?

4. Upload to Managebac so I will check your research plan before you start doing the research.

You will upload A2 at the end of the class and I will make sure you are not spending a lot of time on questions or sources that are not going to be useful for you.

Class 6 (9N March 8th, 9O&9Q March 9th, 9L March 10th) 

Today we will use the time in class to play the following games, that Ms Nicole kindly lent us. Please be extra careful when playing them.

Get inspired and get ideas for designing your own games.

Class 5 (9N March 3rd, 9O&9L March 4th, 9Q March 5th) 

Welcome back!

Task 1. Finish completing A3

After spending Chinese New Year playing games with friends and family, it is time to share your notes in your A3. Please use the rest of the class to comment on 4 different games you played over break. If you did not play any games, you can analyse some games from this list.

Scroll down and look at what we discussed in Class 4. We will be uploading A3 and A2 next class for a checkpoint.

Class 4 (9Q Feb 2nd, 9N Feb 3rd) 

Task 1. Inspiration

Let’s start by looking at some work from last year, going though this link. Most of the examples here are board games and card games, but that does not mean they are the only things you can do.

Task 2. Read comments to the work uploaded on the checkpoint

Remember that if you don’t submit work (or submit an empty tasksheet) on the checkpoint, you miss the chance to resubmit your work later.

Task 3. Analysing other games, A3

We had a wonderful presentation on board games yesterday by Ms Nicole Furutani and Mr. K. If you need to watch it again, you can find it here. 

Today, following all that was discussed we are going to start our inspiration (A3) by playing games and learning about them, so if you can play some games over CNY with your family, please take notes on them so you can apply what you learned and liked or did not like about then, later on in the game.

We will adapt our A3 table to what was suggested yesterday in the meeting, in order to make it more game oriented.

Our “revisedA3” is under files. Please copy and paste it into your tasksheet. It looks like this. To get 7-8 you will need to analyse 4 different games.

To complete the game mechanics, go to MB under files “Board game Mechanics 2020”. Ms Nicole presented you the 6 main ones, but there are over 50. Try to pick games that have different mechanics, the purpose of all this is to move away from the roll the dice and move, simplest mechanic.

Task 4. Play games and have fun!

Play some games during this break and take notes, or you can analyse some games from this list.

You can also sign up into this website: Board Game Arena. When you create your username please make sure to start it with the word “KEYSTONE_yourname” so you can find your friends easily to play with them online. We don’t recommend playing with strangers.

You can also interview family members or neighbours on their favorite games and why they like them. (Remember to record the audio of your conversation)

Next class, class 5, we will finish A3 and upload your work for the first checkpoint after Chinese New Year.

Class 3 (9Q Jan 27th, 9L Jan 28th, 9N Jan 29, 9O Feb 1st) 

Task 1. Recap of what we have done so far

Read the GRASPS one more time:

Read the comments on MB to your poster. Overall really nice work, but here are some things to consider:

  1. choose 1 particular topic (ice melting, renewable energies, public transportation…). We are talking to younger kids so simpler is better.
  2. write a headline that addresses that topic in a clear way. (Don’t have headlines like “stop climate change” or “save the planet” since they don’t mean much these days, we need to know what to do in order to save the planet.) Have headlines such as A. Clear call to action “Ride a bike”, “Plant trees”, etc.. or B. Clear messages: “Ice is melting and animals are losing their habitat”
  3. mention the consequences of this topic to make sense of it (ex. because ice is melting, many animals are losing their natural habitat)
  4. provide clear data. numbers. places. (be careful with using “we” or “us” what contry are you referring to?)
  5. provide source for the data and source if you are using a catchy image that you did not create.

Some examples of nice posters made by your friends in 9N (the last one is by Amy Zhao):

Task 2. A1. Making sense of everything

Now it is time to relate them to your project:

Putting all the previous work together:

  • Explain what are you going to teach (choose one topic and express it simply, as you did in the poster). Follow the corrections we just presented.
  • why it is important that primary kids learn about this topic.
  • provide data + source (MLA citation) for the justification (as you did in your poster)
  • mention target audience and client
  • mention how you are planning on being a “sustainable” (the link to our Global Context exploration: sustainable consumption) toy designer or what “sustainability” in toy manufacturing means. (Here you will need to use what you thought and reflected on last class)

Task 3. Coming up with inquiry questions (A2)

Now that you know what you are going to make, you probably have a lot of questions about what you want to make. Start coming up with questions and list them in the first column in A2.

Task 4. Preparing questions for the expert talk

On February 1st, Monday period 10 (ARE) we will have an online conversation with a game board expert. Ms Nicole Furutani. Bring your questions on game mechanics or what are her favorite games.

Her talk will have 3 parts:

1. Introduction to the main mechanics used in games (very useful for your designing and making)

2. Break out in rooms to play/design new games

3. Questions.

For now, you just need to start thinking about questions for this Unit. Write them in the research plan, no need to provide sources yet.

Task 5. Upload to MB

Class 2 (9O & 9L Jan 22nd, 9Q Jan 25th, 9N Jan 26th) 

Task 1. Understanding The Design Task. What are we doing in this Unit?


Goal: to design an educational game about climate change for primary school students.

Role: you are a designer that needs to consider your responsibility in climate change.

Audience: primary school kids  // Client: primary school teacher or parent.

Scenario: Toy companies are also responsible for producing non-recyclable and unsustainable waste. Some leading toy manufacturers are moving towards more sustainable materials. Toy companies also may need to consider creating toys that educate our children.

Product: You need to design an educational game to educate kids about climate change. You will need to carefully pick your materials in design a game that may be promoting sustainability in toy manufacturing

Standards/expectations: You will need to create a prototype based on the client needs and audience preferences and safety considerations, that shows your design and can be tested by primary school students.

Task 2. Looking at sustainability in toy manufacturing

Since the “being green” is important to some companies, some of them have started announcing they are going to produce more sustainable products with more sustainable materials. But what does that really mean? Are they really making a significant change for the planet? Or are they just using this announcements to brand themselves as “green” companies and keep selling and selling more and more?

Let’s look at one example. Lego. One of our favourite games ever. Who doesn’t love lego?

It is on their website, they are moving towards using more sustainable materials, here they have a video explaining how they move to plant-based sugar cane materials.

But is this a good thing? What are the implications of Lego turning to sugar cane to produce its bricks? Lego, a company that sells 75 billion a year (!!) in over 140 countries (source). Can a company that sells that much be considered a sustainable company?

Let’s watch this video now:

Task 3. Global Context Activity: Globalization and Sustainability

Your task now is to reflect on both videos and write a little piece (300 words) on what do you think being a sustainable toy company really means. Is it a good thing that every child in the planet plays with the same Lego Bricks? What implications does it have for the planet?

This reflection will lead you to the kind of game you want to make and the type of materials you should use. You can do some research and show some examples.

Upload the reflection to MB at the end of the class.


Class 1 (9O & 9Q Jan 19th, 9L Jan 20th, 9N Jan 21st) 

Task 1. Check grades for A, B, C, D

Your grades for A, B, C and D are final at this point. Check your grades and let me know if something is missing.

Task 2. What did you learn in the IDU on Climate Change? Can you teach it?

We are going to break in groups of 4 and you are going to make a mind map on paper and markers of what are the main points you learned this year. (20 minutes)

We are going to do this from memory. No computers open.

Task 3. Choose one. Get the facts right. Make a poster.

20 minutes to make a quick poster that includes:

  • 1 headline that presents the fact and is action based. (Do this, change that)
  • A background or background picture
  • The fact you are supporting your headline on
  • The source

Upload at the end of the class: picture of your group mind map and the poster.