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Astronomy Board Game Instructions, 2013

Follow this link to The Animal Board Games 

Over the next ten days you and your group will be researching, designing, and building a board game that teaches about a topic in astronomy or space science.  If you follow this guide carefully, and complete each step along the way with significant effort, the project will come together very well and without a great deal of frustration.  The purpose of this project is to have you gain knowledge in the topic, but also create entertaining, engaging, and accurate educational experiences for others.  Along the way, you will get valuable experiences in project management, team dynamics, and research and development.
Games have to be ready to play on Wednesday 5/15/13 at the BEGINNING of the period.
 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
    May 2
Intro project & grading
 May 3
Choose group
 May 6
(Asian Art in SF)
 May 7
Topic and format
 May 8
Design & build
 May 9
Design & build
 May 10
Design & build
 May 13
Test & improve
 May 14
(Planetarium)
 May 15
Play 2
 May 16
Play 2
 May 17
Play 3

Phase 0: Choosing Groups (May 2 and 3)

A.    Choosing groups can be one of the most challenging parts of this project. You will need to find people with whom you get along, can be productive, share interest/passion for a topic, and have complementary skills. Look at the skills list below, decide upon which ones are your strengths and weaknesses, and then try to create a group that has complementary skills/traits.

  • *is organized and can manage time and plan ahead
  • *artistic talent
  • *can write well
  • *has or can get can get materials
  • has leadership skills but not bossy (gets along well with others)
  • interest/understanding in topic
  • get/experienced w/ game design
  • can communicate

Phase 1:  Topic Ideas, Choice, and  Preliminary Research (May 3 to 6):

      A.    To begin this project you will explore a few books, magazines, computer-based research tools, or video sources to get a glimpse of a variety of topics in astronomy.  Please consider a few topics and groups before deciding on one.  Make sure that everyone in your group agrees on, and is excited about the choice.  You may do one specific topic (for example the Hubble or Haley's Comet), but it is better to widen to a group (i.e. space telescopes or comets) but don't cover a group that is too large (for example planets, stars, or space technologies).  By the end of class on Monday (5/6/13), please tell me your team members and topic choice by filling out this form.

      B.    To get more information on your topic, each of you can look through the library shelves, encyclopedias, the web, and in the school and/or city libraries.  Make sure you conduct research in many (at least 6) diverse sources.  Once you find a chapter in a book, a section in an encyclopedia, or article in a magazine, copy the pages that you think will have the best stuff.  Bookmark and annotate webpages using our Diigo group if you like.

      C.    Interpersonal information sources will add a great deal of life and relevance to your topic.  You can use any information gained from discussions with professionals.  Talking to a person who has some expert knowledge about your topic is a fantastic way to get information.  IF you are thoughtful and resourceful you will find great sources.

      D.   The most important part of this project is to read the sites, articles, and book pages and learn new things about the topic.  As you read everything, highlight the important things or write notes.  When I am grading your board game, I will look extensively at notes and source materials so keep them organized.

Things you should be able to show at the end of this stage in the project:

      -A list of topics that you considered, and your final group choice.

      -Signs of research from each person (named highlighted pages from sources or written notes).


 

Phase 2:  Consolidate Information & Brainstorm Ideas for a Game's Format (May 7)

      A.    After you have accumulated a large amount of information on many aspects of your topic, you will consolidate and organize the information and maybe put it into categories and perhaps sub-categories.

      B.    After you decide on the categories that you want to cover, you will need to come up with some ideas about how to format the game so that it will teach the facts, concepts, and attitudes that you decided upon in step 2A.  It is important to think of a whole bunch of possibilities before deciding on one specific idea.  Remember to listen to (and expand upon) each others' ideas and offer constructive suggestions.  You can take ideas from other (real) board games (or shows) or make up your own.  Don't make it too complicated or too simple -- remember, your peers will be playing the game for only 10 to 13 minutes, so you want it to be entertaining, well organized, and able to be learned, played, and completed within that time constraint.  The main objective is to teach something to the people who play your game while keeping them entertained and motivated.  Today you can still be flexible enough to totally change your idea if it isn't turning out well, but try to avoid it after today.  Find one great idea now, and stick it with it.

      C.    Using some scratch paper, start designing some sketches of the game board, instructions, how to teach, question cards, or anything else involved in your game.  Don't start the final product yet -- just start drawing out what the game board and all the required components (cards, spinners, game pieces, etc) will look like.  The more planning work you do now, the better the game will turn out (and the easier it will be along the way).  At this point you will need to work together well as a group.

      D.   Decide which jobs need to be done (and by whom) tonight so that you can get the actual board started tomorrow.  Each person should follow through on any commitment that they make by doing work each night, and bringing the necessary materials to class.  If anyone doesn't follow through, it hurts the group.

Things you should be able to show at the end of this stage in the project:

-The groups consolidated notes organized into topics (you may cut and paste if it helps)

-Some "scratch pages" showing possible layouts and objectives of the play of the game.

Phase 3.   Creating the Game, Information Sheets, and Directions (May 8, 9, 10)

      A.    Now you've got everything you need to get the game constructed.  You might want to write a list of all the things that need to be done (and in what order), and decide who is going to work on what steps.  You might also want to write a “to get” list for each person. Since every group will have a different type of game the parts will be different for each, but no matter what format you choose, it is a good idea to sketch out the components of the game (board game, question cards, etc.) in pencil before doing them in ink.  Keep in mind, that your grade depends upon a good balance of looks, durability, ease-of-use, and (most importantly) the amount taught.  Re-read that!

      B.    Making the game great will require that you make changes and improvements along the way.  Every once in a while you should ask yourself if there is any way to improve the way that the game looks, plays, or packs up.  I'm not suggesting that you be so picky about the game that it never gets done, but I do think it is a good idea to evaluate your product as you go and make changes when they're easiest to make.

      C.    One of the most crucial parts of this project is the instruction sheet.  You know how hard it is to read any set of instructions if they are the least bit confusing, so your challenge here is to write simple and complete instructions that are short and yet thorough.  Icons and pictures in the instructions can make them much easier to follow.  Five copies need to be typed and perhaps laminated or mounted on cardboard.

      D.   The final step in game-construction is to find a way to organize the components of the game so they stay together (don't get lost) and don't get messed up while being taken out and put back over and over again.  This should probably be done at home by one (or more) of the members of your group.  Be resourceful and creative.  I'll be saving these games for next year, so be sure they're durable and easily stored away.

Things you should be able to show at the end of this stage in the project:

      -Some board game components under construction (the board, the pieces, the cards, etc.)

      -A written set of directions that show improvements (edit to make clear, short, easy, etc.)

Phase 4.    Finalizing the Game, the Instructions, and Storage (May 13)

      A.    If you have kept up with these instructions, today is a day to simply refine and add finishing touches to the game, instructions, and "packaging".  Maybe have another group try to play the game to see if it works (and is fun) for them.  If you haven't kept up with these instructions you've got lots of work to do.

      B.    If there is still too much for your group to get done during class today, then it is a good idea to create a last-minute emergency plan (don't argue about whose fault it is, but get into action instead).  Please avoid setting up a situation in which one or two people do more than their share of the work.  You will be graded on your individual contributions as well as your productivity as a group, so cooperate.

      C.    In addition to your game, you will need a bibliography page that lists all of the places from which you got information.  Write the source type (book, magazine, encyclopedia, video, web site, etc.) then the title, author, date, and pages used.  Give me as much information as possible and cite it correctly.

Things you should be able to show at the end of this stage in the project:

      -A completed game with all necessary components, pieces, instructions and packaging.

      -A completed self-evaluation of the game using the following grading scale:

 

 

Examples

Board Game Examples



Board Game Grade Sheet

 

How good does the game look?

         1.         Design, layout, and overall appearance:                                        2      4     6

         2.         Durable materials and storage method:                                         1      2     3

How well does the game play?

         3.         Instructions (5 sets) are short, clear and neat:                                2      4     6

         4.         Game is enjoyable and holds players’ attention:                            1      2     3

         5.         Knowledge advances the player (not random):                             1      3     5

How much do the players learn?

         6.         Players will learn a lot within a 15 minute game:                            1      3     5

         7.         Knowledge is gained before or during play:                                  3      5     7

         8.         Inactive players are kept engaged in the game:                              1      2     3

         9.         Questions or tasks ask things that the game has taught:                  2      4     6

Did you attach your notes and a list of sources?

         10.       Notes or highlighted copies of sources included:                           1      2     3

         11.       Bibliography lists 6 (+) sources completely:                                  1      2     3

                                                                                                                                    Total:                    /50

 

 

Group Project Grading


Astronomy Topics

Astronomy Topics 2012


Board Game Groups


Board Game Groups



Vertebrate Board Game Guide 2004
here is a link to your Animal Game facts

Your trimester project for this term is a board game that teaches about an animal.   You and a group of 3 other students will be researching, designing, and building a board game covering a subgroup of fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, or mammal. If you follow this guide carefully, and complete each step along the way with significant effort, the project will come together well and without a great deal of frustration. The purpose of this project is to have you gain a feel for the intricate beauty and intrinsic value of various animals by examining the members of one group in detail, describing their unique characteristics and adaptations, and appreciating their role in the ecosystem. As the human species gains the ability to influence the survival of all other species, it is absolutely crucial that people develop a knowledge and understanding of the living world that will guide our decisions and actions. Games have to be ready to play on Monday 3/3 at the BEGINNING of the period. 

First things first...Put your name in the upper right corner of this sheet. Get the phone numbers of the others in your group and put them somewhere on this guide.  Explain the project to a parent (and the grading system I use) and have a parent initial in the upper left so I know that they are aware of what you will be doing in science for the next few weeks.   During the whole process keep this guide handy -- you'll need to go step by step and follow directions carefully.

1. Animal Group Ideas (Friday and/or Tuesday) and Preliminary Research (vacation week).

A. The first (and maybe hardest) step in this process is choosing groups and topics.  By the time you read this part of the guide you will probably have already done that.  Whether you chose your groups based on a common interest in an animal or by a desire to work together regardless of the topic, be sure you have made a wise choice.  Hopefully you were able to consider a few animals and/or groups before deciding on one. Make sure that everyone in your group agrees on, and is excited about the animal. You may make your board game about one specific species (for example the Polar Bear or Spotted Skunk), but it is better to widen your coverage to an entire group (for example bears, or whales, or bats, or marsupials, or birds-of-prey, or wolves, or lizards, or frogs) but don't try to cover a group that is too large (for example birds, or mammals, or reptiles etc.)  Tell me your team members and animal choice.

B.  To begin your research take an hour to explore books, magazines, web sites, CD's, and maybe video sources to get as much USEFUL information about your topic as possible. Look through books, encyclopedias, and electronic resources your own and/or city libraries. Make sure you conduct research in at least 4 types of sources. Once you find a chapter in a book, a section in an encyclopedia, or article in a magazine, copy the pages that you think will have the best stuff.  You can compile a list of sites or print relevant pages, which ever works best for you.  Come to school on Monday prepared to share what you found with your group.  Bring as many of the sources as you can to class and be sure to put your name on everything.

C. Current information sources will add a great deal of life and relevance to your topic. Talking to a person who has some expert knowledge about your type of animal is a fantastic way to get information. IF you are thoughtful and resourceful you will find great sources.

D. The most important part of this project is that you read the sites, articles, and book pages and learn things about the animal. As you read everything, highlight the important things or write notes. When I am grading your board game, I will look extensively at notes and source materials so keep them organized.

Things you should be able to show at the end of this stage in the project:
-A list of animals that you considered, and your final group choice.
-Signs of research from each person (highlighted pages from sources or written notes).

2. Consolidate Information & Brainstorm Ideas for a Game's Format (Wednesday)

A. After you have accumulated a large amount of information on many aspects of your animals, you will consolidate the information and maybe put it into categories. You should cover things like a physical description of your group; the classification of its members; their behaviors, instincts, lifestyle and adaptive strategies; the animals' role in the ecosystem; how man is effecting it and it's habitat; and perhaps why this animal is important and worth learning about. These are minimum topics; you can add others.

B. After you decide on the topics that you want to cover, you will need to come up with some ideas about how to format the game so that it will teach the facts, concepts, and attitudes that you decided upon in step 2A. It is important to think of a whole bunch of possibilities before deciding on one specific idea. Remember to listen to (and expand upon) each others' ideas and offer constructive suggestions. You can take ideas from other (real) board games (or shows) or make up your own. Don't make it too complicated or too simple -- remember, your peers are helping to grade the game, so you want it to be entertaining and well organized. The main objective is to teach something to the people who play your game while keeping them entertained and motivated. Today you can still be flexible enough to totally change your idea if it isn't turning out well, but try to avoid it after today. Find one great idea now, and stick it with it.

C. Using some scratch paper, start designing some sketches of the game board, instructions, how to teach, question cards, or anything else involved in your game. Don't start the final product yet -- just start drawing out what it will look like. The more planning work you do now, the better the game will turn out (and the easier it will be along the way). At this point you will need to work together well as a group.

D. I will provide you with a blank large pizza box, and for storage purposes, I prefer that your game fit into that container. You can use part of the box as a game board or create a separate, removable, game board. Any game pieces, cards, instructions, or other components involved in playing your game need to be able to fit in the box as well ­ neatly and id a durable manner. Read step 3E to get more information.

E. Decide which jobs need to be done (by whom) tonight so that you can get the actual board started tomorrow. Each person should follow through on any commitment that they make by doing work each night, and bringing the necessary materials to class. If anyone doesn't follow through, it hurts the group.

Things you should be able to show at the end of this stage in the project:
-The groups consolidated notes organized into topics (you may cut and paste if it helps)
-Some "scratch pages" showing possible layouts and objectives of the play of the game.

3. Creating the Game, Drafting Directions, and Writing Information Sheet (Thursday)

A. Now you've got everything you need to get the game constructed. You might want to write a list of all the things that need to be done (and in what order), and decide who is going to work on what steps. Since every group will have a different type of game the parts will be different for each, but no matter what format you choose, it is a good idea to sketch out the components of the game (board game, question cards, etc.) in pencil before doing them in ink. Keep in mind, that your grade depends upon a good balance of looks, durability, ease-of-use, and (most importantly) the amount taught. Re-read that!

B. Making the game great will require that you make changes and improvements along the way. Every once in a while you should ask yourself if there is any way to improve the way that the game looks, plays, or packs up. I'm not suggesting that you be so picky about the game that it never gets done, but I do think it is a good idea to evaluate your product as you go and make changes when they're easiest to make.

C. One of the most crucial parts of this project is the instruction sheet. You know how hard it is to read any set of instructions if they are the least bit confusing, so your challenge here is to write simple and complete instructions that are short and yet thorough. Icons and pictures in the instructions can make them much easier to follow. Copies need to be typed and perhaps laminated or mounted on cardboard.

D. You will need to create an information sheet that gets distributed at the beginning of the game, so that players have a source of information they can use to answer questions or perform the tasks involved in your game. This can come in any form you like (cheat sheet, cards, pictures, etc.), and is a crucial factor in how much players will learn about your topic as they play your game. (see grading criteria 7 through 10)

E. The final step in game-construction is to find a way to organize the components of the game so they stay together (don't get lost) and don't get messed up while being taken out and put back over and over again. This should probably be done at home by one (or more) of the members of your group. Be resourceful and creative. I'll be saving these games for next year, so be sure they're durable and easily stored away.

Things you should be able to show at the end of this stage in the project:
-Some board game components under construction (the board, the pieces, the cards, etc.)
-A written set of directions that show improvements (edit to make clear, short, easy, etc.)

4. Finalizing the Game, the Instructions, and Storage (Friday)

A. If you have kept up with these instructions, today is a day to simply refine and add finishing touches to the game, instructions, and "packaging". You will have another group try to play the game to see if it works (and is fun) for them. If you haven't kept up with these instructions you've got lots of work to do.

B. If there is still too much for your group to get done during class today, then it is a good idea to create an emergency plan for the weekend.  Don't argue about whose fault it is, but get into action instead. You may need to arrange a time and place to meet over the weekend to finish the game. Try to avoid setting up a situation in which one or two people do more than their share of the work. You will be graded on your individual contributions as well as your productivity as a group, so cooperate.

C. In addition to your game, you will need a bibliography page that lists all of the places from which you got information. Write the source type (book, magazine, encyclopedia, video, web site, etc.) then the title, author, date, and pages used. Give me as much information as possible and cite it correctly.

D. Bind the sources together with the bibliography as the first page. You will turn this in, but separate from the game itself. See grading criteria 11 & 12. I hope you enjoyed building your game and playing others.

Things you should be able to show at the end of this stage in the project:
-A completed game with all necessary components, pieces, instructions and packaging.
-A completed self-evaluation of the game using the following grading scale:

Board Game Grade Sheet

How good does the game look?

 1  Design, layout, and overall appearance: 3 points
 2  Durable materials and storage method: 3 points
 3  Colorful, neat, and creative graphics: 3 points

How well does the game play?
 4  Instructions are short, clear and neat: 6 points
 5  Game is enjoyable and holds attention: 5 points
 6  Knowledge advances the player (not random): 3 points

How much do the players learn?
 7  Players will learn a through information sheet and game play: 7 points
 8  Topic covered in appropriate detail and complexity: 5 points
 9  Game teaches about animal's role in its ecosystem: 3 points
 10  Questions or tasks ask things that the game has taught: 6 points

Do you show strong evidence of research?
 11  Notes or highlighted copies of sources included: 3 points
 12  Bibliography lists 6 (+) sources completely: 3 points

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