02 Oct

My blogs are usually an opportunity to celebrate the learning and achievement of our fantastic pupils, and this week’s blog featuring our Digit4ll Pathway is no different. Before I hand over to Mr Garry, I’d first like to take the opportunity to celebrate a member of our outstanding staff, Mr Holban who has been awarded the Ray Gibbons Memorial Prize. This is a very special award given specifically to Maths teachers who go that extra mile in their teaching of children with SEND. It is a national prize, sponsored by the Mathematical Association and Equals Magazine and Mr Holban was selected from entries nationwide to receive the award. In my role I have had the privilege of visiting Mr Holban’s lessons on many occasions and I’ve always left feeling inspired by both his own passion for Mathematics and the manner in which he instils this same passion in his pupils. He has an extensive subject knowledge, he is skilled in helping our pupils to link their learning to everyday life and other curriculum subjects, he has an outstanding ability to pitch his lessons at the just the right level for everyone in his class so that each pupil gains a sense of accomplishment from meeting the challenges he sets them. A quiet, unassuming man with a love of Rummikub (check it out – https://rummikub.com), we offer our huge congratulations to you Mr Holban and our deepest gratitude for the commitment and dedication you have shown to our pupils. A thoroughly well-deserved award.

So, from one lover of boardgames to a whole class of them, Mr Garry is here to share with us Digit4ll’s gaming focus recently..

Digi 2 – Embracing Our Inner Geeks

Board games, card games and table top games have become increasingly popular in recent years, going through something of a renaissance after – among other changes in entertainment – the rise of the computer and video games industry. Millions of pounds pledged to Kickstarter or Indiegogo projects, the number of Friendly Local Game Stores (FLGS) on the rise again and card games like ‘Exploding Kittens’ or ‘Cards Against Humanity’ having breakout mainstream success; it hasn’t been this good for board game geeks in some time.

But it isn’t all just fun and games, board games have very real benefits for our physical and mental development and ongoing health. Among many other benefits, board games:

  • Stimulate brain function in children and adults, assisting in the development of critical thinking, problem solving and wider cognitive development
  • Trigger the release of endorphins, improving our mood and reducing stress
  • Foster positive social interaction and strengthens existing relationships through teamwork and healthy competition
  • Support the building of bridges between people from different walks of life, giving us common ground to learn about and empathise with each other
  • Disconnect us from the digital world and our devices, taking us away from social media and fake news
  • Foster Creativity in us and allows us to grow our imaginations

Digi 2 have embraced each of these benefit with open arms and want to share:

Board games and Maths

‘Dice Dungeon’ is a game developed by the members of Digi 2 to practice their core Maths skills and to help challenge themselves as their confidence grows.

Digi 2 have developed the game so that students of all abilities can play, but the core game works like this:

  • Players take it in turns to roll 3 dice
  • The first dice gives us the first number in our sum
  • The second dice gives us the second number in our sum
  • The third dice gives us our operator

Our third dice is a special type called a ‘D3’, this means:

  • Rolling a 1 or 2 means we do an addition sum
  • Rolling a 3 or 4 means we do a subtraction sum
  • Rolling a 5 or 6 means we do a multiplication sum

All players answer the question in secret, only sharing when everyone has come to an answer. Each correct answer gives a player an ‘ability point’ and when a player reaches 5 ability points, they are allowed to use a calculator to answer one question – or save their ability for later.

Digi 2 built on the core rules quickly, developing ‘difficulty modifiers’ that allow them to challenge themselves:

  • After answering a set number of sums correctly, increase the number of dice rolled for the first and second number
  • After answering a set number of sums correctly, use a D4 and change the rules so a roll of a 5 means a multiplication question and a roll of 6 means a division question
  • After answering a set number of sums correctly, create a pile of maths practice paper questions and draw one randomly from a box

Not content simply creating rules for their games, the class have created props and pieces to go along with their rules. This is the prototype of the ‘dice mat’ designed to keep the dice from rolling off the table:

The Dice Tower is another approach to keeping dice off the floor, the tower has alternate horizontal levels inside that shake the dice around and a courtyard to catch the falling dice:

A developing ‘Star Wars’ themed dice tower in the works:

‘The Mystery Chests’ are the most recent addition, storing practice questions from Maths papers which are drawn as challenges after answering a set number of sums:

Board games and IT

Taking their newly found love of geeking out, the class have brought board games in to their IT lessons as well. In a world first and for your eyes only, Digi 2 present the prototype of ‘King of Dungeons’:

As the player progresses through the dungeon, they can collect loot to help them fight scarier monsters deeper in the dungeon:

Since the game is an RPG, each player must create and manage their own characters:

Currently in development are the dungeon tiles, enemies and counters. Stay tuned for more previews and the v0.1 rules of ‘King of Dungeons’ coming to a blog post near you.

Board games for fun

So what have Digi 2 been playing for fun?

Escape the Dark Castle – Themeborne

Escape the Dark Castle is a simple, cooperative game of retro-atmospheric adventure. Players take on the roles of prisoners, wrongfully incarcerated in the depths of The Dark Castle. Whether it’s the Abbot, the Tailor or any of the six playable characters, each prisoner is represented by a character card and a custom character dice showing that prisoners unique endowment of Might, Cunning and Wisdom – the game’s three traits.

Digi 2 verdict – 10/10 “I GOT THE GOLDEN AXE!!

Cobra Paw – Bananagrams

Ninja-like reflexes, sharp recognition skills, and mental fortitude steals the game in our new tile-snatching challenge known as Cobra Paw! Players take turns rolling the dice (featuring 6 unique symbols), spotting the tile with the matching pattern, then grabbing it before their opponents. The first player to snatch up 6 tiles wins the game and bestows great honor to the Grand Shidoshi, Master Meow!

Digi 2 verdict – 10/10 “I am the greatest ninja in the world.

5 minute Dungeon – Wiggles 3D

In this game, you’ll join forces with your friends to fight your way through five dungeons filled with deadly obstacles and dangerous monsters! You’ll choose to play as one of ten heroes, each with their own special cards and abilities. In 5-Minute Dungeon, there are no turns. Everybody will be racing against the clock to slap down symbols that match the current card from the Dungeon. You’re all in it together—either your party defeats the dungeon and moves onto the next one, or you all perish!

Digi 2 verdict – 8/10 “The timer makes it too hard.

Blame Space

You’ve got to get off this ship! The captain is dead. Life support has been sabotaged and an alien virus brought on board. Who can you trust? PAM (the ship’s insane computer) won’t let you leave until she’s found the ‘traitor’ and blasted them out of the airlock! There’s only one way to convince PAM it wasn’t you: blame someone else! Blame Space is the fast-paced, mean-spirited, petty-minded, intergalactic card game of survival and irresponsibility.

Digi 2 verdict – 10/10 “I was a traitor all along hahaha!!!

What about you? Maybe pick up a copy of one of our favourites or make your own game!

I’d like to finish with a special for one our new pupils, Haidan.  I was very honoured to be sent a image of Haidan’s fantastic artwork he’s been creating whilst engaging in some ‘mindful colouring’.  I absolutely love your rainbow inspired tree and it’s clear how much care and attention you’ve put into. An amazing piece! As promised, here it is on the blog so that our readers can enjoy it too.

Until next week, take care, stay safe.

Gavin

Click here for this week’s news from Graham

You can find Dawn’s blog for the Learning Centre here

For news on our Key Stage 5 pathway groups at New Bridge College please click here

You can find Gavin’s previous blog posts here