Around Town | July 5, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 5, 2019

Around Town

GET'CHA HEAD IN THE GAME ... The power of social networking brought together a class of rising fourth-graders and a local board-game maker at Ohlone Elementary School, where they're having fun in the classroom while sharpening their math and language-arts skills. Ohlone co-teachers Michelle Yee and Cathy Harkness understood the importance of stepping away from traditional methods of teaching summer school so that the students learn different subjects through hands-on applications. Through NextDoor.com, a social-networking service for neighborhoods, Harkness found 23-year-old board-game maker Justin Leong. The Mountain View resident spoke to the kids about the various stages of creating a game, including identifying resources for the game and coming up with the rules. The students absorbed his information and spent a week collecting game tokens, spinners, cards and boards from donated games in order to make their own. Through creating the games, the students were able to learn multiplication by having to deal with scores and play money and practice their language arts skills by writing out the rules for their games and reading them to their peers, among other lessons. "He inspired me to try and make games," student Genesis Suarez said of Leong. She added that she hopes to see her creation sold at Walmart one day. Leong had the chance to "play test" the students' games and was blown away by the kids' imaginations.

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