Games can be wonderful teaching tools if they add something to the lesson being taught. However, sometimes unforeseen circumstances make certain games impossible to use. I encountered a few challenges with games.
One challenge may be the size of the classroom. Some games require large rooms and plenty of open space so the students can move around freely, play or run. These games may not work for churches with only small rooms and/or no play areas. At times, if the weather permits, a game may be workable outside on a lawn.
Another challenge may appear when there is an unworkable number of students in the class. One example of this appeared when I taught primary-age students. The curriculum included a game that I thought the students would enjoy and it went well with the daily lesson.
This game was played on a small game board which was included with the curriculum. The children moved the game pieces around on the board. The challenge appeared when I tried to gather ten youngsters around a table and placed the board in the middle of it. There was not enough room for the students to gather around and all be able to see the game board. Soon the youngsters started complaining. became restless and lost interest.
In an attempt to find a solution to the challenge, I pinned the game board to a bulletin board at the front of the room. This didn’t work because the markings and writing on the board were too small for the students to see. Consequently, we gave up on that game and did another activity.
On another occasion, with a smaller class, we had a game we couldn’t play because there were not enough students.
Throughout my years of ministry I’ve encountered the following challenges with games that were included with curriculum packages:
- Companies don’t include enough game pieces or cards to make the game work for the class size.
- The game board and/or writing on the board was too small to see from a distance or for students to place on a table and gather around so all can see.
- The game took too much time so we couldn’t play it or finish it and still do the weekly lesson.
- The game activity moved too slowly and the students became too bored or restless and started misbehaving in class.
- The game in the daily lesson had absolutely no educational value, nor did it relate to the lesson being taught.
- The game required a lot of movement and the classroom was too small.
- The game didn’t offer options so it could be played by students from different grade levels.
I know curriculum designers and/or writers can’t possibly foresee every challenge that may appear when teachers use their materials. They can only glean insight by hearing responses from teachers who have actually used their materials. Therefore, I offer up the above tips and tidbits for consideration. By communicating with one another we can all learn and make our teaching and lesson materials better.