Fourth-graders at the John F. Kennedy School participated in an exciting and innovate project—the Global Cardboard Challenge, a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) module. Under the guidance of Amy Mendel, SEEK (Supporting Educational Exploration & Knowledge) teacher, the children incorporated math, science, engineering and art skills to create a variety of arcade games using common household items that many students brought from home, such as balls, plastic cups, miniature toys and lots of tape. Michele Garbien, a fourth-grade teacher, assisted with the project.
The goal of the challenge was to foster creativity through play. “Through creative play, students engage their imaginations and open up their minds to what’s possible by turning their ideas into something real,” said Mendel. “Children learn creativity, ingenuity, perseverance and teamwork.”
Simulated arcade games created by students included a basketball challenge, nok hockey that was played with a puck or a ball, miniature golf, grab your own prize and skee ball. Based on actual arcade games, each project required students to successfully assess the materials needed, design and make their game. When the projects were complete, students enjoyed a morning of arcade fun as they played the games they created.
The Global Cardboard Challenge, sponsored by the Imagination Foundation, is for “kids of all ages to build anything they can dream up using cardboard, recycled materials and imagination.” The challenge is based on a short film, Caine’s Arcade (www.cainesarcade.com), about 9-year-old Caine, who built an extensive cardboard arcade inside his father’s used-parts store one summer, incorporating excess materials he found in the shop. A filmmaker happened to stop by for an auto part, saw the arcade and made the short film, which sparked what became the Global Cardboard Challenge.