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Lesson Plans

Re: interdisciplinary art/biology

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sandra Hildreth (shildret)
Fri, 29 Dec 1995 22:58:55 -0500

I recently worked with a Biology teacher at a neighboring school district
on a collaborative project. She had the idea first - to invent games her
students could play during lab time to help reinforce concepts previously
taught. She made up very simple games based on childhood games like old
maid, etc. I proposed something more extensive. I teach a high school
Graphic Design class and I challenged them to invent a board game that
would teach the Classification of Living Things (at the suggestion of the
Bio teacher). My students worked around 3 weeks on this, in groups of 2 or
3, and created some really neat games. They had to make all their component
parts, like play money, etc.; they designed the gameboards (with a required
game "logo" in the middle); storage containers for the games; and clearly
written rules. We had Monopoly style games, some like Trivial Pursuit, and
even a Dungeons & Dragons type game. They all had to be field tested in the
classroom by their peers (with written comments and suggestions), revised
if necessary, then were passed on to the Biology students to try. The
neatest thing was watching my Art students, many of whom are not at the top
academically, discuss these Biology concepts, and do the research necessary
for their games. Little did they know that they were "learning" the Biology

I have successfully used this "design a board game" concept a number of
times. It is a great way to get students to do creative problem solving
together, employ art and design skills, as well as learn whatever is the
main topic of the game. For a Humantities course, we used the Gilded Age in
America as a topic once. We had some great games, like "Become a Railroad
Tycoon" and "SlumLord".

Sandy Hildreth
Madrid-Waddington Central School
Madrid, NY