Last week (and this week), we are all about the Global Cardboard Challenge. Each year, our 5th graders get the chance to create arcade games for the rest of our school. Our school district hosts a Global Cardboard Challenge on a Saturday in October (in conjunction with all other Cardboard Challenges happening around the world that day) and because it can be hard to do things on a Saturday, we host our own event on the Friday before (we call it a Cardboard Carnival). This is the 4th year or so that we have done it and I think we now have a good plan in place. Here’s what we do:
*I introduce the project to students in their classroom. I show them the Caine’s Arcade video and talk about the project. After I am done and have answered all of their questions, they sit down (often with a partner) and sketch out what they are going to make. They make a list of materials needed and start a draft of the directions on how to play the game. I suggest that they look around at home and bring in their own boxes, tape, etc. I do collect my own boxes and tape and other items for them to use, but it’s good for them to have their own stuff. I have found that there is a balance of having too much cardboard (making your library feel like a garbage dump) and too little (so that kids don’t have anything to work with). This year has been the best with supplies, I think, and it’s because we’ve asked them to bring in what they can.
*The classroom teacher and I then schedule working times in the library for students to come in and build. They get to come in for 2 hours with their class (one hour for each week leading up to the Cardboard Carnival) and then they can come in for recess everyday leading up to the event. They can also work on it at home….in short, I feel like they get a lot of time to work.
*The day before the Cardboard Carnival, every student who created a game comes to the library to set up. They teach the people next to them how to play their game so that if something happens (they get sick, surprise trip to Disney, whatever), someone is available who knows how to play their game.
*We advertise mostly via email to teachers and ask them to sign up for a time to bring their class in to play. Each student gets a “passport” and as they play games, they get a stamp on their passport. As they leave the library, they show me their passport and they get one piece of candy as a prize. We do this because for the first couple of years, many of our students created games with prizes and
students parents felt like they had to spend lots of money on candy or junk or whatever for prizes. So, now kids play the games for points or whatever (no physical prizes), but everyone gets a prize on the way out.
It’s a lot of work, but kids really love it and when they get to 5th grade, they are so excited that they finally have a chance to create something out of cardboard.
Are you participating in the Global Cardboard Challenge? Tell me about it!