New Tech students craft board games that are more than just fun

June 1, 2016
St. Helena Star

Clever students at New Tech High School have found ways to make learning about the carbon cycle fun.

They have turned the carbon cycle — the ways that carbon shift-changes in our natural and human-made worlds — into board games. It’s all part of a game design class, now in its second year, at New Tech.

“The reason we came up with the game design class is because there’s a population of students here who are really into games,” said teacher Lisa Gottfried. “They’re big gamers.”

The class is no intellectual lightweight. It also teaches things like storytelling, writing, 3-D modeling, manufacturing and marketing, she said.

Gottfried said the game design class isn’t about making video games, it’s about what students need to learn before making video games. When she’s asked game designers what she should be teaching her students, she said they all say the same thing — they need to learn how to tell a story, learn how game mechanics work and learn how to break a game and fix it.