Northwest Students Get in the Game

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Skin in the Game learning has debuted at Northwest Elementary School as students are creating their own board games.

Several second- and third-grade classes are taking part in the initiative, which will eventually be expanded to the entire school. Skin in the Game supports the curriculum as students use their knowledge of different subject areas to create their games. They come up with a concept, create rules and directions and design game boards, pieces and question cards.

Math has been a popular choice for students as they explore the intricacies of game design. In Kelli Geilman’s third-grade class, one group worked on a multiplication and division game that has an “under the sea” theme. Juliane Roman and Stacey Tloczkowski’s class made a frog-themed game focusing on number sense and multiplication. 

Lori Heavey’s third-graders came up with “Escape from Northwest.” The board game starts at a picture of their school and ends at a picture of Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School, where they will attend in fourth grade. Questions are broken up in to four progressive levels: addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, single-step problems, and double-step problems. 

Skin in the Game also includes a technology component. Once students understand the basics of game design, they will transition into video game creation to learn about computer programming. 

The Skin in the Game initiative is funded through a federal Academic Enrichment grant that the district received last summer. Amityville was one of 38 school districts selected by the New York State Education Department to receive funds through the Every Student Succeeds Act for technology enhancement. Teachers from multiple schools were trained last summer during an in-district professional development session, and more staff will be trained in February.