Are You ‘Board’ with Traditional Lesson Plans? GAME ON!

By: Stephanie Teitelbaum and Lauren Resnick
from Martin J. Gottlieb Day School

Development of Critical and / or Creative Thinking

Subject(s) of entry:
Art, Computer Science, Engineering, English/ Writing/ Language Arts, Math, Science, Social and Emotional Learning, Social Studies, Technology, literature

Blended Learning, Constructivist, Design-Thinking Model, Experiential Education, Gamification, PBL - project based learning, Social and Emotional Learning, Wholebrain Teaching, UBD - understanding by design, 21st Century Skills

Grade(s) to which this was taught:
7, 8, Middle school

Grade(s) for which this will be useful:
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Elementary school, Middle school, High school

GameOn! provides students with innovative skills they use to create board games based on their mastery of a particular topic. Students transform their knowledge of any subject into a tool used by other students. Creating a website, we connected classrooms across the globe through educational game play and development.

Entry Narrative

The Martin J. Gottlieb Day School encourages students to be lifelong learners.  Lesson plans, cross-collaborative integrations, interdisciplinary activities, and assessments are purposefully created in a way that fosters a love of learning and facilitates student success.  Our GameOn! Initiative is an example of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy in action, and as a program it can be applied to many developmental levels and can be used for any subject.  If you are ‘board’ with traditional lesson plans, join us in GameOn!

Board games can be used in multiple ways in educational institutions for cross-curricular learning.  Playing board games  encourages students to think about subjects and topics in different ways, develops problem-solving and risk-assessment skills,  encourages collaboration and communication with peers, teaches and models personal skills, and creates a unique hands-on learning experience that meets the needs of a variety of learning styles.  In addition to playing board games, giving students the opportunity to create and construct their own board games meets all of these goals and amplifies them.  Creating games themselves fosters creativity and innovation, encourages independence and mastery of a topic, and provides an amazingly fun environment for learning.

What is ‘GameOn!’?


  1. After a particular lesson, students participating in ‘GameOn!’ take the knowledge they acquired to the next level of development and assessment by designing an interactive game.  Games, board games in particular, offer unique hands-on learning opportunities that meet the needs of a variety of learning styles. The game creator demonstrates a mastery of knowledge in order to be able to create a game that is both accurate and functional.  The students playing the game are also quizzed on their knowledge and become an important part of a feedback loop that allows the game creator to correct the game as needed and to grow through the redesign process.



         2. The board game creation platform is an example of cross-curricular learning that encourages topic mastery, community building, and            growth mindset. In addition, our students use current STEAM technologies such as 3D printing, design apps, high tech software, and more to create their games.  Students reflect on their knowledge of the lesson as they design their game, and they also integrate newly learned skills on state-of-the-art technologies to create the games. This methodology offers STEAM opportunities that are completely unique to an individual’s design process.  Creating custom dice, game pieces, spinners, and more allows students to apply their knowledge of the subject into a design process that is one-of-a-kind.


          3. In general, playing board games is a fun way for students to engage with peers and learn a variety of skills and topics. It makes learning fun, and encourages social and emotional growth. Students, in designing their games, play an influential role in creating their own goals, guidelines, and an additional dimension of student assessment is created.  Standardized rubrics were created by our faculty enabling GameOn! to be used in a variety of grades and on a variety of subjects.  At the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, we have created games on the following topics: a variety of math topics including Geometry; Figurative Language; Pronouns; Nouns and Verbs; Adjectives and Adverbs; Conjunctions, Prepositions, and Interjections; To Kill a Mockingbird; and other various books upon completing novel studies.

           4. As our students designed and played their games, we discovered that the feedback from players to the designer was critical.  We decided that all games we initially created will be ‘tester’ games that another classroom can request to play as part of their lesson.  Their feedback and constructive criticism will be used to improve on the game, which offers other students the opportunity to play the game and test their knowledge while also problem-solving technological and engineering issues.  By using the website we created, students have their games tested in real life situations, and will receive the integral feedback and be able to improve their games.  

          5.    We are in this together!  In addition to the website we created being a hub for game collaboration, we also made it a place where educators can find our resources and work with GameOn! in their own schools.  In addition to requesting tester games, they can also post their own game creations for classrooms and find all of our resources to incorporate initiative into their programming.

How does GameOn! Demonstrate the highest three echelons of  Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy?


  • Analysis:  During analysis, students separate what they just learned  into components so that they can focus individually on  the organizational structure of the lesson. Analysis is a critical part of the game design process!  Students must be able to analyze the components of the lesson to be able to effectively create a game structure that works.  



  • Evaluation:  Once students analyze the lesson, they can then evaluate all the components.  Whether the individual pieces of the lesson make it onto their board, game cards, or game pieces. It is the evaluation of the analysis of the lesson that gives them the information bank to be able to create the game.  Students interweave this evaluation with creativity and STEAM technologies to create the game.



  • Creation:  GameOn! Game Creation.  Once the plan is in place, students actually create their game!  


But does it end there??

As we encourage growth mindset practices and foster an environment rich in feedback and communication, we would suggest that this is actually a looping process!  As feedback is given to the game creator, they have the opportunity to reanalyze, reevaluate, and redesign.   Also, as we reflect on the program, we as teachers had our own place within the echelons of  Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy.  We provided support to students in lesson planning and also in game planning, and often particular troubleshooting was needed to help facilitate their visions for their games.  

Supplemental info:

Website Created:



Links to student blog posts:   Isa  Allie Ben Julia


Entrant Bio(s)

Lauren Resnick - I am originally from Kansas City and have been living in Jacksonville, FL for the past 14 years. I have a B.S. in Elementary Education from Indiana University and I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology. I have been teaching for almost 20 years, in both public and private school. I am currently teaching middle school math and am on our school’s STEAM team to get more STEAM curriculum integrated into our school and our STEAM lab up and running. I also have experience as a literacy coach for preschool aged teachers. I am married and have 2 wonderful boys who keep me very busy.

Stephanie Teitelbaum- I have been in the education field for 20 years. I started out teaching in the public school system in 1993. I taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades during my years at San Mateo Elementary and Twin Lakes Elementary. I took off a few years from teaching when my daughters, Sydney and Emily, were born. I went to work at the JJC Preschool (now the DuBow Preschool) for 5 years as the Admissions Director and then transitioned into the Assistant Director position. I went back to teaching elementary school in 2011. I taught 4th grade at MJGDS my first year, and then I taught 4th/5th Language Arts in 2012. I have now made the transition to teaching Middle School Language Arts. I have a true passion for reading and writing. I have an even greater passion and love for children of all ages. I thoroughly enjoy what I do and always do my very best to meet each child’s individual needs.