Designing to Play: Collaborative Unit with my Librarian – Creating a 3D Monopoly Game Piece

I recently collaborated with my school’s librarian, Rachel Morling, to develop a 3D design unit where the students created a playable game piece for Monopoly, by Hasbro. She approached me to create an end of year activity for fourth graders which would utilize our school’s 3D printer (we have a Pulse XE). Mrs. Morling took care of introducing the history of monopoly (like for instance, did you know it was created as a protest to “extreme wealth” [think John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt, you know the Captains of Industry/Robber Barons] during the industrial revolution?) as well as covering the various game pieces over the years (several have been retired like the ‘wheelbarrow’).

Since it’s Monopoly’s 140th Anniversary, we pitched it to the students as if they were participating in a competition to develop the next game piece. The students utilized Tinkercad to create their concept. They were then to take a screenshot and add it to a Google Slide presentation where they would type up a rationale as to why their piece should be selected. The class would then vote on their three favorites, not including themselves, using a Google Form. The winning creator would choose the color of the filament used to print out one for each student in the class. Embedded below are some of the various items we used (or an example to show in this post).

Kick-off Poster
Monopoly Article
Tinkercad Keyboard Shortcuts
Tinkercad Dashboard Video
Wakelet of Tinkercad Tutorials
Google Slides
Google Form
Google Sheet
  • Kick-off Poster: created in Canva using our Bitmojis to state the goal of the project as well as showcase the filament colors available
  • Monopoly Article: resource (PDF) Mrs. Morling used with the students to discuss the history of the game & its playable pieces
  • Tinkercad Keyboard Shortcuts: resource (PDF) for students to get proficient in using Tinkercad on a Chromebook
  • Tinkercad Dashboard Video: recording of my brief introduction of the Tinkercad platform
  • Wakelet of Tinkercad Tutorials: self-directed learning for students to watch on how to use Tinkercad
  • Google Slide [example]: deck where students would add their screenshot & rationale (the three “student” examples are ones ChatGPT & I created)
  • Google Form [example]: voting for favorite three designs
  • Google Sheet [example]: collection point for voting; first tab utilizes formulas to calculate results (first choice is worth 3, second choice is worth 2, third choice is worth 1), as well as verify that someone didn’t vote for themself, third tab is a verification reference to match first name with email address

So, this was a mighty endeavor for our fourth graders, some struggled, which is good; some excelled beyond my expectations. That meant, some finished early and needed something else to challenge them. So I came up with an idea… take my original example design and complete it. My original design was a rectangular prism (solid) with eight cylinders on top of it and the word LEGO cut into one side. From a distance it resembled a LEGO brick, but only in shape. The underside needed major work as well as the word LEGO was missing in the tops of each cylinder. I had students “remix” my design to complete it, screenshot it, and ‘Turn In’ through Google Classroom, only IF they were completely finished their Monopoly Game Piece. Embedded below are two resources I gave them to assist in this challenge. Also, I recorded a video of a design getting printed (sped up) so the students could see it in action.

Completed LEGO Brick GIF
Video Explanation of the Challenge
3D Printing Video

After some reflecting on the process, from the perspective of the students, as well as my PLC’s (professional learning community’s) topic this year, exploring HyperDocs; I decided to package this unit into a HyperDoc for next year (embedded below).

What’s a collaborative project/unit you have designed? I would love to read about it in the comments below.

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