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Heritage Middle School engineering students create indoor recess games for peers

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Heritage Middle School students now have new game options for indoor recess in the school’s media center thanks to Jason Siwek’s engineering students. 

There are board games like “Jackpot!” and “Rat Chase.” There’s the “Untitled Block Game,” where players race to complete a 3D block puzzle. Students can also choose from games inspired by familiar ones such as foosball and Plinko. 

For Siwek, the project helped develop students’ skills in the engineering design process while having them find innovative and inclusive ways to bring their school community together.

“The entire goal of my course is for students to grow through refinement of their projects and implement new ideas,” he said. 

And by creating games that will be used by the Heritage community, students get exposure to operating as an entrepreneur, running their own businesses and taking charge of their design process.      

As part of project, engineering students had to create unique and original interactive indoor games with the following requirements:

  • 2-4 players

  • At least 6 custom-designed and built game pieces 

  • Designed for ages 8 and up

  • All pieces and directions are school appropriate and safe

Their games must be played while sitting, are limited to 30 pieces and all pieces and directions must fit into a single box.

Siwek introduced the project last month and students had four weeks to complete their designs and construction. Most of the games will be donated to the media center. 

Eighth-grader Hazel Alvares partnered with a classmate to create the “Untitled Block Game,” which was named because they couldn’t settle on a name. They both thought the assignment was interesting and wanted to create a 3D game instead of one that involved moving pieces across the board. 

They designed a pair of puzzles with the patterns etched on each of the block pieces. Players select a card that features a specific design that players must match with their puzzle. The first player to complete their puzzle wins.

“I thought people needed a challenge instead of moving characters around,” Alvares said. “It was really fun making it.”