Inspired by arcade games, a cardboard construction challenge—and a YouTube video that went viral—a fourth grade class at Gerard Elementary has learned what a little time and imagination can do.
On a recent Friday, the school library was turned into the Gerard Grizzly Arcade as students tried their skills at “Smack the Quack,” “Bas-Skee Ball,” “The Grizzly Grabber” and a host of other games created with cardboard and creativity.
“I saw a basketball video game and decided to make one of my own,” fourth grader Sophie Auvenshine said, talking about her Basketball Craze game involving orange ping pong balls and a funnel. “If you make a goal, you have to step back and shoot from farther away.”
“It took a week to make,” she said. “My dad had to help because we had to use the glue gun. This was more fun than I thought it would be. I learned how to make things and be more creative.”
Glover introduced her students to the cardboard challenge by showing them “Caine’s Arcade,” a 2012 YouTube short film about a nine-year-old who built a cardboard box arcade in his father’s auto parts store. The video, and Caine’s story, went viral.
“I gave this concept to the kids, with no limitations, other than their games had to be made from cardboard and had to function,” Glover said. “The rest was up to them—and they truly exceeded my expectations. Their personalities are reflected in their games. They used their favorite colors and interests.”
The Grizzly Arcade project had students thinking outside the box as they drew up blueprints and worked on presentation skills to explain the objective of their game to prospective players.
“We used the Capturing Kids’ Hearts concept in that they had to greet players with a handshake before introducing their game and providing instructions,” Glover said. “They all practiced their presentations. This activity also involved problem-solving—how to take a bunch of ‘stuff,’ put it together and make something.”
“One student started out making a soccer game, but it didn’t work, so she went back to the drawing board, turned some things around and made a basketball game that did work,” Glover said. “That was the true essence of this activity—that and having fun. When we were in the library and had classes coming through, I heard one little boy say he was going home to make his own game. I think this inspired a lot of students.”
Fourth grader Carter Bishop’s “Smack the Quack” shooting gallery gave classmates five chances to knock down three ducks.
“I’ve seen movies about old carnivals and this was always one of the games, so I decided it would work perfectly,” said the nine-year-old. “The ducks fall down easily, it works good and nothing breaks. I’ve had fun doing this. I found out I’m a pretty good painter and now I can tell how stuff works.”
“I think my game has been pretty popular,” Bishop said. “It’s an old-fashioned game, but it’s fun.”
Jackson Moring, who is quite the gamer according to his father, based his arcade creation, “The Dude Almost Perfect Water Bottle Flip Challenge” on the Dude Perfect TV series featuring trick shots of all kinds involving golf, ping pong, football—you name it.
“We’ve watched them for years,” Jackson’s father, Matt, said. “They did a water bottle flip several years ago and we’ve been practicing ever since. Jackson was really excited when he found out about this project. Just the term ‘arcade games’ lit him up.”
“This was his first big school project,” Moring said. “We built the game together as a family, but he led every step—the planning phase, designing, building, then testing the game at home and with classmates. He said a lot of the kids had fun with his game. It was a great experience for him.”
Jackson’s classmate, Jolee Scogins, also labeled the Grizzly Arcade experience a winner. Scogin created a giant version of the maze game reminiscent of the prize once found in boxes of Cracker Jack.
“I thought it would be hard, but I also thought people would want to play it,” she said. “It actually is medium hard. Everyone said it’s fun to play. I think it’s really fun we’ve done this. I’ve never actually built something from cardboard before. I think it turned out great—box, paint and hot glue and you get a really fun game.”
Those visiting Saturday’s Cleburne Chamber of Commerce Business Expo at the Cleburne Conference Center will have the opportunity to try out several of the games from the Gerard Grizzly Arcade. Glover and her students will be featured during the 10:30-11 a.m. slot of the CISD Student Showcase taking place in the Conference Center Theater.
Third grader Bella Longoria, right, tests her skills on a maze game created by Jolee Scogins, left, during her visit to the Gerard Grizzly Arcade. Pictured center is Karlie Gable. Fourth grade teacher Jennifer Glover used the short film “Caine’s Arcade,” to inspire her students to make their own version of an arcade game, using cardboard and creativity.
Wyatt East prepares for his next attempt at Jackson Moring’s bottle flip challenge during a visit to the Gerard Grizzly Arcade. Fourth graders in Jennifer Glover’s class were challenged to think outside the box in creating arcade games using cardboard and their imagination.