Miss Plumpert’s prized pot pie has gone missing and now its up to Spark Studio heroes gather clues, rule out suspects and crack the case! They’ll have to work together quickly because the guilty fox is high-tailing it to the exit. Can our young learners halt him or will they be outfoxed? While complex, this board game was an instant hit in our studio. It includes a compelling story and is cooperative. In our first few sessions especially, building a positive culture of teamwork is imperative to successful projects. I have been a part of team building exercises that felt forced, ineffective and often awkward. The best way to gain this kind of group connection in an authentic way is through a common goal that heroes are excited to work towards. Games like this allow our heroes to cheer one another on. Heroes use patience with younger learners who may take longer to add up dice sums. They offer assistance when sounding out the names on the cards and they have shared genuine excitement when they accomplish the common goal and thwart the hungry fox.
When not avoiding being outfoxed, our heroes were very busy this week. They shared stories of halloween happenings and took on the role of scientists, predicting differences in the slime of orange and white pumpkins. They graded the colors of leaves and spent morning work time reading books and making books of their own. They played alphabet games, solidifying phonic knowledge, and also worked on geometry with geo-boards and addition with our bead frame. During quest they explored some data, creating a bar graph about goods and services and they worked together as planners creating “Spark City”. This town features both goods and services that heroes chose and made representations of, before deciding on their placement along the avenues of our paper town. Agreeing on what to include, where it might go and who is in charge of each establishment was certainly a challenge. A project like this becomes manageable when heroes draw on the practice they have in working together effectively, towards a common goal.