Creating board games in 4-5 to explore westward migration

As part of the “People’s Movement West” 4-5 study, students created their own board games to play during our celebratory Prairie Day and with their K-1 buddies. Reading Jean Craighead George’s The Buffalo are Back, students began to understand the importance of all parts of an ecosystem, and the historical reality of how 1800s settlers of the West disrupted the balance of the prairie. They learned key ecological terms like “habitat,” “predator,” “adaptation,” and “disturbance.”

Working with Laurel, they explored library databases like Kids Infobits to research animals of the West. In groups of three or four, students designed board games that reflected their research and learning about the interdependence of species. Their board designs were inspired by a lesson with Chloe, the Lower School art teacher, on the Principles of Design. They developed prototypes as they planned for each space on their boards and thought through how players might move across the board. With help from technology director Page, they created game pieces using a 3D design app and printer. Their hard work was celebrated on Prairie Day when they finally got to play their games!

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