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Lord Roberts creates cardboard classroom arcade

February 7, 2024 News Story
WSD - Lord Roberts - Arcade 4

Lord Roberts School students turned their classroom into an amusement arcade.

After studying the six simple machines, Grades 4 and 5 students were tasked with building arcade games out of cardboard and other recycled materials. The student-led project culminated in an arcade night for their families on Feb. 1.

“I floated the idea of making machines and the kids really took off with it,” said Genevieve Brown, who teaches Grades 4 and 5 at Lord Roberts.

“We watched a video of a kid who had made an arcade game in his dad’s shop. They were super excited and so engaged with the project. Every day, as soon as they walked through the door, they’d ask what time science class was.”

The handmade arcade featured original games, as well as cardboard versions of such classics as pinball, foosball and air hockey.

Hanyan, a Grade 5 student, used her newfound knowledge of pulleys to create a claw machine.

“I really how we all worked on the designing together,” she said. “We all brainstormed our ideas for the name of the games and the theme colors. We learned about simple machines and about teamwork, which helped us to succeed.”

Joss, a Grade 4 student, said the arcade project lines up perfectly with her dream profession.

“I want to be an engineer when I grow up,” she said. “This was a very educational project. I got to make stuff with cogs and pulleys. It was really fun.”

The students charged 25 cents per game play or $4 for an unlimited fun pass. They also helped organize a canteen, which included popcorn and slushies. The money raised from the arcade night will go to an animal shelter.

“The students wrote rules for each game. They did invitations, they made advertisements, and they wrote letters home,” Brown said.

“They were the project managers of the whole thing.”

Joel Dyson, a Lord Roberts parent, was impressed to see what his daughter Abigail and her classmates created.

“It’s amazing to see what the kids have come up with, using simple machinery,” Dyson said. “I just knew they were getting cardboard boxes together, so it’s amazing to see what those have been turned into. And I love the fact that it gets the school community together and that they’re doing it for a good cause.”

In addition to simple machines, Brown said the project-based learning initiative taught students about math, money, and art, while encouraging creativity and critical thinking. Also, the students were introduced to the work of Invader, a French street artist who creates ceramic tile mosaics based on the pixelated art of 8-bit video games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders.

Brown said there are also plans for a field trip to Park Alleys to learn about the real-world machinery behind bowling and pinball.

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