Friday, February 11, 2011

Using something in a Creative Way

I'm not sure if this is the purpose for this blog entry, but I wanted to use a student project that was due today for my example of something used in a creative way.

In my 9th grade Language Arts class, we have been reading "The Adventures of Ulysses", which is a slightly easier-to-read version of "The Odyssey" (I have some somewhat struggling readers in my class).  We just finished it yesterday, which meant that their ongoing project for the book was due today (Friday).  Students were to, as a group of 2-4, design and invent a game that incorporated the novel somehow.  I kept it pretty open ended---the game did not have to be a traditional "board game", but any type of game that they chose.  Most students, of course, did some type of board game---different takes on "Chutes and Ladders", "get to the end with the most men" type of games, answering correct questions about the book, etc.  Today, they got to play another groups' game and asses the game based on design, ease of play, uniqueness, etc.  Overall, I was very pleased with the outcome---most students got very into creating their board game and making it attractive, though most games were very traditional in design.
Two games, however, come to mind when it comes to taking an assignment and doing something that wasn't necessarily the expected, or the norm.  One group found a "Pokemon" Card creator online, and created "Ulysses" cards with it instead.  They put pictures of the character from the novel on the card, assigned the character a point value (as far as how much "fight" they had in them), gave each character a weapon of choice and a power of some sort.  They printed the cards on photo paper and attached a backing on them to make them attractive.  The players then "battled" the cards in a similiar fashion to Pokemon. I thought it was a very creative twist on the assignment, but creative in design (photo paper, online design site, etc) as well.  The other game was called "Sink the Ships".  These students created a gigantic ocean out of cardboard and made little catapults out of rubber bands and cardboard.  Players race to answer a question about the book, and the first to give a correct answer got a change to put a little plastic piece in a catapult and fling it to knock over a ship (or a stand up piece that relates to the antagonists in the novel) that belongs to another player.  Three boys designed the game, and three kind of "prissy" type girls ended up playing it---and had a ball.  They probably had the most fun in the room for that period.
I'm not sure if those are weak examples or not, but I was really impressed with the creativity and ingenuity of both groups.