Play More Games in the High School Classroom!

by Daniel D. Dulek

I just finished reading this article on The Educator's Room site and feel very vindicated in playing board games with my students.  Board games have been used for a number of years but they have taken a back seat to video games.  The article talks about why some types of video games are bad and it makes an excellent case for the use of board games.  The article focuses on elementary school and middle school aged students not high school students.  I believe high school students should be playing more games in school.

Most of the game playing is happening at the lower levels of education.  I don't know why but it seems like playing games is too immature for the high schooler or there is just not enough time to play.  I think that needs to change.  I am a high school chemistry teacher and I love to play games.  I love to play games with my students.  For the last two years, I have been creating board games that help my students to prepare for upcoming tests in a fun and challenging way.  I have adopted the German board game style of play.  This means that players are never eliminated and luck is not a primer driving force behind the game play.  For example, my newest game Meltdown is a cooperative board game where players work together to keep a nuclear power plant from melting down.  Players must answer questions to gain control rods which are used to absorb neutrons to control the rate of nuclear fusion.  Just like in a nuclear power plant, minus the answering questions part.  The big part of the game is that students must work together to find a strategy that will keep the power plant from melting down.

My students have a fun time trying to beat the game.  They either win as a team or lose as a team.  It is a fun way for students to review and learn about how a nuclear power plant works.   

High school teachers really should consider looking into playing more board games in their classrooms!