First-Year Engineering Course Blends Community-Based Engineering and Game Design

Over the Fall 2023 semester, Professor Greses Pérez and PhD student G. R. Marvez co-taught a first-year engineering class that blended community-based engineering practices and the art of game design. During the class, students learned about iterative design processes, game design, and how to work with community members on engineering projects. For the community-focused aspect of this class, students partnered with 3rd and 4th-grade students at a local East Boston elementary school and a Dorchester-based after-school program to design board games about local engineering challenges. Undergraduates also took their knowledge out of the classroom into Nolop to learn machine shop skills, such as 3D printing and laser cutting, for making all the parts for their board games.

Through many prototyping cycles, undergraduates have co-designed five games about engineering concepts local to the Boston area with elementary students. These games included a trilingual cooperative game about designing parks and green spaces, a tabletop soccer game that transforms collaborative math problem-solving into a thrilling sport, a bilingual card matching game about pollution, a board game demystifying the proper sorting of trash, and an immersive experience in designing flood-resistant buildings. 

In bringing engineering education to game designs, the elementary school students who helped to design and also play these games have the opportunity to learn about a variety of engineering concepts in their communities through multiple modalities, from card games to tabletop soccer. 

Leave a Reply