The Cardboard Arcade Challenge.

Earlier in the year I had watched ‘Caine’s Arcade’ on Youtube  you can find it here- I loved the story and loved the idea of children building things out of boxes, just like I used to do back in the day. I tucked the idea away in my head thinking I’d love to do that with my Grade 5/6. Well, the start of Term 4 arrived and it seemed like the perfect way to start the term.

Grade 5/6 have had three Genius Hours this year. Each time they have got better and better at planning what they will do. They love Genius Hour and making things so I knew they would enjoy the arcade challenge. The arcade challenge fits beautifully with the AusVels domain of ‘Design, Creativity and Technology’ ( ).

After viewing ‘Caine’s Arcade’ on Youtube, visiting the Cardboard Challenge website- and having lots of discussions students completed their design briefs outlining what they were going to build and how. Here is the design brief format I used design brief

The students were excited and full of enthusiasm and ideas. One of them said it was like Genius Hour but they were all doing the same thing, sort of. The Prep- 4 students in the school were fascinated by what was going on in the Grade 5/6 room (“Why are there boxes everywhere in Grade 5/6 Carolyn?”), as were the other teachers and the parents.

Soon posters advertising the opening of our arcade went up around the school. The school was buzzing with excitement. The Grade 5/6 students and I had discussed whether we would charge the other students to play the games or not. (Charge them our school ‘money’, not real money!) We decided to give each student five tickets the first time the arcade is open, the next time they would need to use their school money to buy tickets.

I decided the games could also be used as part of our Grade 5/6 maths lessons. Once the games were built the 5/6 students had the following problems to work through Arcade maths

After our Arcade had been open to the other students the Grade 5/6 students then had to prepare a presentation for the other 5/6 students to persuade them to ‘invest’ some of their school money into their game. Your Arcade Investment Presentation The students are in the process of completing their presentations this week.

The Arcade Challenge was a success. I think I have had just as much fun as the students and I’ve been impressed with their problem solving stamina. I think one of the best things about it  is how all the students at the school have got to enjoy something created by the 5/6 students and our 5/6 students have loved sharing their games. Some of them even ‘spruiked’ their games before assembly to encourage parents to play the games.

I love it when an idea not only works, but works extremely well, ticks lots of curriculum boxes and has the students thoroughly engaged. I need more of those ideas, we probably all do!

Have you done something similar? Have you done something completely different but it got not only your students hooked but set the school abuzz? I’d love to hear about it.


This entry was posted in design, education, genius hour, learning and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Cardboard Arcade Challenge.

  1. Yes! I have done the Cardboard Challenge with my 7th graders: I, too, love everything about it – the collaboration, the communication, the imagination… all but the mess! 😉 Thank you for sharing your story – I love the connection to Genius Hour – different than my connection to it, but it’s all in the same bag, I’d guess!

    • crtavener says:

      Thanks for the comment Joy. I wonder what all these students who experience Genius Hour and cardboard challenge will create as adults. Exciting to think about. Now I’m off to read your post about the cardboard challenge.

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