For the month of October, our after-school STEAM Maker Club has been focusing on the Cardboard Challenge. We started off by watching the short film on Caine’s Arcade together. If you haven’t seen it, watch it right now:
My students were inspired by all the amazing games made by Caine, and immediately started working on ideas for their own games. We brainstormed on paper first, then we brought out the cardboard and started proto-typing. The first game to be created was dubbed “The Best Game Ever” – it involved rolling a K’nex piece down a ramp and trying to get it into a bin.
We invited students to come and try the game, and everyone loved it. That led to another group of students creating a game they called “The Second Best Game Ever”, so as not to conflict with the original. It was a basketball game made with a spoon and rubber band catapult. The idea is to try to use the catapult to launch a LEGO piece into one of the baskets.
Another great creation was a giant crane game. One of my students took giant cardboard tube and rigged together a claw mechanism using K’nex and yarn. When you drop the claw over a roll of duct tape, it would retract as you lifted and pick it up.
My students had a lot of fun with this activity. It helped that I purchased this cutting tool on the recommendation of another cardboard Maker on Twitter – it made it easy and safe for my students to cut their cardboard, since the thought of giving them box cutters freaked me out a bit. Towards the end, they started to get a bit restless though. I think next time I’ll schedule a tighter deadline and create a proper arcade day for them to show off their creations. Right now we’re planning an after-school game day fundraiser in the media center, which will include video games, computer games, maker activities and our cardboard arcade. But I don’t have a date set yet, and I think that’s why the project waned towards the end. Still, it was a great beginning of the year project for our STEAM club, and one that I’ll definitely do again.
Have you ever done the Cardboard Challenge with your students? What was your experience like?