Alongside the Game Design Quest, Acton Elementary learners take on the Technical Writing Writer’s Workshop. The goals of this workshop are to practice writing clearly, practice organization in writing, educate others on how to complete certain tasks, understand their own approach to using and providing instructions, and practice giving specific and helpful feedback.
Learners have the opportunity to create technical writing pieces related to the game they create in quest (our project-based learning period) including a storyline to provide context for the game, goals for the players, and step-by-step instructions of how to play the game.
Learners kick off the Technical Writing Writer’s Workshop by participating in the Make-A-Sandwich Challenge, where they are challenged to work in a small group to write step-by-step instructions for how to make a honey and banana sandwich. After completing their instructions, the tribe tests each group’s steps. Learners laugh with delight when someone forgets an important step such as “peel the banana” or “use the spoon to put honey on the bread.” As a result, learners usually have some odd sandwiches and honey covered hands at the end of the challenge. While debriefing, learners are asked, “What are your lessons learned from the challenge?” One Acton Elementary learner said, “You have to be very clear with the steps. You shouldn’t just assume someone knows what they’re doing.”
As part of the game design quest, learners draft goals for their original games. Before crafting their goals, learners are first challenged to describe the goal of basketball to an alien from outer space. One Acton Elementary learner said, “The goal of basketball is to score points.” Another learner described a basketball court. After trying to explain the goal of basketball, one learner shared that “you need details when you’re trying to explain something new.”
At the end of the session learners showcase their original games along with instructions, storylines, and game goals.