GRAHAM, NC (WGHP) — If you were to walk into the media center at Southern Alamance Middle School in Graham at the end of the school year, you would most likely see students busy playing board games.

But these aren’t just any board games. They were created by the 7th grade students in Jessica Taylors Social Studies classes. 

According to Taylor, the games are a big part of their final grade. “It’s not a sit down and take a paper, pencil test. They can show me what they’ve learned. They do get to work together, but you still can see how much have learned,” she said.

She’s been doing this type of assessment for a few years now and she says it’s become a student favorite. “We spent a lot of time studying about the different world wars,” says Taylor. “We go from WWI, WWII, the Cold War. There’s so much that we cover. So this is what they do to show everything that they’ve learned.”

The students’ assignment is to create their own board games with at least 25 questions from information they have learned in class on our nation’s wars. Mrs. Taylor gives them the parameters and lets them decide the groups they will work in. Taylor says that is also a part of their social studies learning. 

“It was kind of interesting to see how they picked their groups because some kids, but I wouldn’t have put together just based off of how they are outside of the classroom. I wouldn’t have pictured them as picking each other, but we had in depth lessons more in some classes than others on this is how you pick somebody to work with that is gonna ensure your success. Not always gonna be your best, best friend. Uh, but it’s gonna be somebody who can get job done with,” she said.

Then the work begins for the students. Some create a remake of their favorite board game. “Our game is called shoots and trenches, and it is very colorful, and you answered questions and then you roll dice, and you move however many spaces you got,” Cayla Saw said.

Others come up with an entirely new game. Max Hunter and his group designed “Rush to Victory”.

“You get asked a question and if you get it right. You roll. And if you land on these certain spots, you have to roll a five or more to move out of them and whoever gets their first wins,” Hunter said.

Everyone agrees it’s a fun way to reinforce their class lessons.

“In the end they were graded on the accuracy of their questions how well they worked as a group, how creative their game board was,” says Taylor. “I told them, I don’t grade you on your artistic ability because I’m not an artist, but you know, you don’t have to be an artist to be creative. “

She says each year she is surprised at how well the games turn out. “It’s nice to know that they learned the curriculum, but even more than that, it’s nice to know that they have skills now that are gonna carry them in eighth grade and into high school. Things that they can use whenever, you know, because at the end of the day, and I tell them, you’re not gonna be quizzed daily on when world war II started, but you are gonna have to know how to work with other people and how to get along with other people and how to create.”

Plus it was fun for the students who created the games and those who played them!