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What's happening in the Recreation Department

Aces versus Idaho Steel heads: 10/23/15

From the National Anthem, to the crowded concession lines, to the on-ice action, to the zombie trivia at intermission (which our students knew most of the answers to), to cheering for the home team, to telling stories of playing broomball with the Aces last year, our group from AK Child & Family had a great experience.

Watching our students interact positively in the community and enjoy themselves on this Friday night was a great opportunity to observe our students relaxing and “just being teenagers”. To know that these students earned this opportunity through their hard work, and to see them happy and engaged on a Friday night was a very great sight to see.

As we battle the weather and work on our ice rink, we look forward to more experiences with the Aces and the return of broomball this winter at AK Child & Family!

Along with family style board games and party games, Ak Child & Family's recreaction department has incorporated strategy board gaming and puzzles into the Leisure Recreaction program. The games we have added to our repertoire have been Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne, these games introduce students to resource and economic management.

Carcassonne is an innovative tile-based, euro-style game that encourages planning, building cities, and strategic tile placement. Because the rules are simple and no one can be eliminated, game play can be fast and fun. Players pick and place tiles (adding tiles to the board each time) in order to build cities and roads. All players roads and cities are incorporated into the main game and a world is built by placing tiles strategically. Points are scored for completed roads and buildings. The world takes on a different shape each game depending on how players place their tiles.

Settlers of Catan:

Settlers of Catan is a “Euro-style” game that puts players in the role of settlers that have arrived on a new island called Catan. As leaders of the settlers, players have to organize and manage resources (like, wood, grain, wool, ore etc.) to build roads, settlements and cities on Catan. The game play mechanics encourage players to organize and manage these resources, and to make decisions on how and when to utilize resources in conjunction with their plans/strategies and to measure outcomes/make adjustments based on the variables that the game and the other players put forth.
“I am one wood card away from building a settlement and I ask all the other players if anyone wants to trade me a wood card for an ore card. A student says they will make the trade for 2 ore cards, I tell him I can’t afford it and offer a wool card along with my ore card because I need that wood card so bad! Should I take more turns to try and get a wood card on my own? Do I offer more for a trade? Do I really need the wood card that bad? Can I build something else with the resources I have? I wonder what the other players are trying to get? Is there anything else I can sacrifice for trade?”

This example is a big part of the fun of Settlers of Catan! A safe place for students to challenge the mind. And to practice planning/making calculated decisions and taking calculated risks…..

The mechanics and components of these games helps students learn organizational skills, how to manage resources, and they encourage decision making and measuring outcomes. They also provide positive social interactions, fun role playing elements, and a theme for students to engage and immerse themselves in (settling on a new land and helping your civilization thrive!). These types of games encourage forward thinking, organization/resource management, and thinking things through, thus challenging students to measure outcomes and make calculated decisions based on their own strategies and plans.

Students input on strategy gaming:

“I love the great peer interactions and everyone working together for the same objective (settling on a new island)”

“I like trading, buying resources, and building things, it can teach you skills like making agreements and negotiations”

“I am drawn to the intellectual aspect of the game (planning and strategy)”

“You can learn how plan and manage resources”

“I like how it brings people together, the friendly competition, and players trading and interacting in a positive way”