Learning Design by Making Games (Update 3)

This the third update about our year-long game design project in grade 4/5. The game designers have one goal:

Design and code a game in Scratch that makes learning about fractions fun and easy for younger students.

The target game-playing audience for this project are grade 2 students. You can check out the progress of the games at any time by visiting our Fraction Games Scratch studio:

Our fraction games Scratch studio

One of the books I have been reading this year is called Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student and I am attempting to see how that design thinking approach (lower left) can inform what I am doing with these students this year. So far, I continue to see many similarities to other design cycle and learning frameworks I have found useful, the simplest of which is Mitch Resnick’s Kindergarten approach to learning (lower right):

launch-cycle         kindergarten-approach-to-learning-resnick

I’m planning to devote a future post to reflecting on the learning design thinking aspects of this project.

On March 2, it was the grade 2 students’ turn to visit the grade 4/5 students (see Update 2 to read about when the grade 4/5 students visited the grade 2s). This time, the game designers sought feedback from their target game-playing audience. Even though the games were unfinished, the grade 2s provided their feedback about what they saw and other (as yet unimplemented) game ideas explained to them by the grade 4/5 designers.

There were three basic questions the designers had (but there were many follow up questions during the actual meetings):

  • What do you think of the game so far?
  • What makes a computer game fun?
  • What would you like to see in the game I am making?
Grade 5 student (left) asking questions and getting feedback about her game.

Grade 2 students met with two different game designers and provided their thoughts, impressions, ideas, and suggestions. Immediately following the session, game designers wrote a concise blog post to capture the feedback they received. This information will be reviewed before they begin their next coding session.

Grade 2 students are providing feedback again on their next visit in early April. Stay tuned!

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