Board games are a fixture in my classroom. They help students collaborate, problem solve with creative solutions, and expand their imaginations. With the influx of technology in the classroom, board games seem archaic, especially when I mention using board games in the classroom, people imagine the half-destroyed chess set resting on the shelf or the dust laden game of Monopoly you pull out from under the couch, when you have absolutely nothing to do.
Board games have grown leaps and bounds – they are competitive and collaborative. They are sophisticated programing with cardboard hardware, software etched in ink and powered with your brain and imagination.
I don’t have to convince you that games are important in the classroom – they are fun, competitive and engaging. Students want to play games. You want to play games with students. So we are halfway there!
Board games are puzzles to solve. They aren’t always intimidating. You have to gather around, take turns, make tough decisions, live with those consequences, plan ahead, and reach a goal using your wits, creativity and abilities/resources/information given to you. You have to sit across the people you are playing with, and get to see immediate feedback of your choices, and – gasp – talk to each other – double gasp – with eye contact.
I want to provide a brief introduction in the new world of board games and how the games listed can be enjoyed by your family – inside and outside the classroom.
Settlers of Catan – 3 to 4 player, Age: 10+ , Playtime: 60 minutes
- Players are placed in the land of Catan where sheep, wheat, coal, brick and other resources are available – but not equally to all. Players have to determine the best places to settle, build roads, and know what to trade when to reach the most victory points.
- Teaching- Economics: Scarcity, Demand and Supply and Opportunity Cost
Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert and Pandemic – 1 to 4 players, Age: 10+ and 30 to 60 minutes (depending on game)
- These games are made by an amazing board game designer named Matt Leacock. All of the games are collaborative where players working together to gather treasures or cure diseases. In these games, it is the player verses the game – who will win in the end?
Teaching – Collaboration, and Problem-Solving
Resistance, and One Night Werewolf – 2 – 10 players, Age: 13+, Playtime: 5 to 30 minutes
- These are social deduction games where players use clues available to determine who is the spy/werewolf. Using wit and guile, players have to determine whether the person to their left or right is to be trusted.
- Teaching – Deduction
You know your class better than anyone. The list of games provided may or may not help you. My intention is give you a signpost in the direction of board games and find games that will provide entertainment, engagement and enjoyment to your students.