Gains from Games

If someone were to walk amongst the students of Green School during a break, you would see a predictable sight. Dozens of students, all on phones and computers, reading, playing or texting, sometimes all at once. This is not a rare sight, nor is it unique. Almost every school faces issues like these, but the issue can be solved much easier than believed. If you were to pay extra attention during one of these breaks, you might witness a more astounding sight. And all it took was one chessboard.

The simple act of bringing a game to school, and taking it out at lunch was enough to draw a crowd of about eight middle school students, all who actively spectate and commented on the game. When asked about this, the students quite simply said, ‘We were bored, so we did something interesting.’ The existence of a board game was enough for the students to disregard their phones and laptops, for the sake of some old-fashioned entertainment.

A High School student decided to push this theory, in an attempt to remove the desire for electronics even further. He thought: ‘What if we had an arcade?’

A team was assembled, and ideas were bounced. The idea expanded from a pastime activity to a way to bring the student body closer together. A chance for the younger students to learn and play, a chance for the older students to build and design, and a chance for everyone to bond just a little bit more.

The first child of this initiative was the building of a game called Puckett, a simple game with hockey pucks and elastic bands. Built in a day, it soon took off in the High School area, with people almost lining up to play it. Every break, you would always find two students playing a few rounds. The team took this early success as a sign to continue, and moved on to harder projects.

First was a Foosball table. This took a considerable amount of planning, CAD drawings, discussing designs and materials, and even prototyping, but became too much of a project to the inexperienced students. It was shelved for later, while they turned their eyes on simpler projects. Plans and concepts were created, from games as simple as chess and checkers, to Air Hockey tables. Four player Puckett was the first new project to be built, and with it came a host of skills learned and construction techniques discovered.