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Student Arcade Hosts Parents at Thomas

October 9, 2015

Arlington Heights, IL – Thomas Middle School’s Library Media Center was overtaken by creativity, fun, and imagination yesterday, and parents, students and staff were invited to play.

Seventh graders in Mrs. Joy Kirr’s and Mr. Todd Slowinski’s English Language Arts classes accepted the Cardboard Challenge to construct arcade games made entirely out of cardboard and invite everyone to play.

“This is a teaser to show students that they do have the creativity, and they are imaginative,” Kirr said. “I hope students experience collaboration, adaptability, perseverance, and the satisfaction for work completed that others get to enjoy.”

Traditional games such as planko, ski ball, putt-putt and wack-a-mole were creatively reinvented using only cardboard boxes. Some innovative efforts were seen in hockey pinball, a virtual reality box, launch-a-ball and feed the sharks, where players needed to throw a ping pong ball into slots featuring pictures of sharks that would randomly open when the inventor chose to do so from behind.

Kirr brought the Cardboard Challenge to Thomas four years ago, after the Imagination Foundation created the Global Cardboard Challenge, inviting schools, organizations and the general public to host them. The Global Cardboard Challenge was inspired by the short film, ‘Caine’s Arcade,’ and is held annually in October.

“We gave students three, 20 minute periods the past three Fridays to plan, and the rest they did on their own,” Kirr said. “This fit in well with our genius hour movement. Genius hour is one day a week where we give students time to learn what they want to learn, or research, or read or write.”

As for the arcade itself, it was completely student run. Kirr sent out a notice to parents, teachers and administrators of Thomas, inviting them to the event. Event fun day passes were issued for admittance, but the students set up, ran, and closed the arcade and their individual projects.

“My favorite part was when parents would step up and students would ask them if they’d like to play,” Kirr said. “We can use the lessons learned from the event as reminders throughout the year when we come across other struggles.”

Students will write a reflection over the weekend about what they learned through their experiences.

Adam Harris
aharris@sd25.org