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Testing our game design (Part 4 of 5)


Social Studies, History, Art


Middle School, 6-8
High School, 9-12

Time required

50 minutes

Materials required


Related background reading


Related documents


Related links


Lesson Plan


With this lesson students will test their paper play-tests.


  • Students will learn to play each others’ games.
  • Students will observe as peers play their game.
  • Students will constructively critique each others’ games.
  • Students will learn strengths and weaknesses from observing game play, and adjust their games, accordingly.

Questions or Assessment

  • What aspects of my game were easy to understand? Which were hard to understand?
  • What aspects of my game were fun? Which were not fun?
  • How can I now improve my game?


Teacher prep

Paper Play-tests (40 minutes)

  1. Students will separate into groups of four.
  2. Every 5 minutes, one student will observe while the other 3 play her/his game.
  3. Though difficult, the observing student must only observe (and interact with the game-players minimally) in order to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of their game.
    • The observing student will not be allowed to play her/his own game.
    • The observing student is not allowed to talk unless asked a direct question.
    • The observing student cannot provide guidance unless directly asked.
    • The playing students may not say negative things about the game.
  4. Following each five-minute play session, the students will provide feedback for an additional five minutes. (Note: The observing student must restrain from arguing or explaining; it’s more important they she/he hears the feedback):
    • Were the instructions easy to follow?
    • Was the objective of the game clear?
    • What were good elements of the game?
    • What were creative elements of the game?
    • What areas could use some improvement?
    • What did you learn about Guam history?

Paper Play-Test Recap (7 minutes)

  1. Explain to the students that first drafts are never perfect. Everyone can improve their game design (and they shouldn’t feel bad if they found major weaknesses through the paper play-test).
  2. Ask the students to share their experiences.
  3. If time allows, list some common suggestions on the board (e.g. Improve directions, use fewer pieces, simplify the playing board, make tougher questions, etc.).
  4. Remind students of the Guam history resources they can use. If time allows, list them on the board.

Recap (3 minutes)
Recap what we’ve done and learned in the lesson:

“Up until now, we’ve learned how paper play-tests were done. Today, we got to conduct one ourselves. You’ve watched as your peers played your game, and you noted strengths and weaknesses of your design. Nobody’s game is perfect; everyone can benefit from tweaking her/his game. Please take what you’ve learned today and use it to improve your game.”

Tell students that they should complete their games for the next class (perhaps provide them with a weekend to complete it, or, if time allows, have an in-class work-day).

Ask students for their favorite parts of the lesson.