Jessie Siva, a class teacher in Huamin School, writes “I’ve great news. As you know (see news item below) my students and I took the ‘Letter’ Storyline to great heights. We invented some games to promote Singapore and some of these have now been developed commercially. A bazaar ‘Wacky Inventor’s Tournament’ was held where pupils exhibited their masterpieces. Students, parents, teachers and the Cluster Superintendent voted for the best games. Fourteen were selected. So far five have been developed commercially and they look beautiful. It started with the letter and now we have these games to promote interesting places in Singapore. Isn’t it wonderful? I submitted an article describing our work to the Ministry of Education and it came out as the top story in the month of December.”
Wacky Inventors Tournament In Huamin Primary
“A good game will stay with us all our lives. A good game makes us long to play it again.” – Wolfgang Kramer.
And good games have come our way especially if they deal with Singapore’s Heritage. A group 70 students from Huamin Primary School have taken National Education to heart. They have created a series of 14 games to make this MOE initiative more interesting. Prior to developing the games, these pupils went on a Heritage Tour on 16 October to Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam. This tour enhanced the pupils’ knowledge on Singapore’s Heritage as well as provided them with the opportunity of a first-hand glimpse of these places. All these facilitated their invention of the games and provided them with opportunities to invent games that were not only fun but also creative and educational. In fact, for about 36 of these pupils, their Storyline Project (Inter-Disciplinary Work Project) on promoting Singapore to an American family was the basis for their invention of these Singapore Heritage-themed games.
The pupils began working on their games after their PSLE under the supervision of the teacher-in-charge, Mrs Jaswinder Siva with the support from the Principal, Mrs Rashidah Marican. This lasted for about 4 weeks, culminating in a Bazaar on 16 November 2002. The Bazaar provided a platform for the students to market their ideas before the games could be launched commercially. During the Bazaar, the pupils had to vie for votes from the parents, teachers, and their friends. Understanding that appeal means promotability, these students had to ensure that their games interest the masses and adhere to certain criteria that go into making the game a good one. For this purpose, the school employed the services of 2 local inventors, Mr Henry Ong from Noble Education.com Pte Ltd and Mr Jim Gan from Richerminds, to assist in the final touches and to develop prototypes for the games.
The pupils’ ideas were original although some pupils may have used other commercial games, like Monopoly, Wheel of Fortune, UNO, as a basis to develop their games. However, the unique feature of the pupils’ games is reflected in the theme of the games that is Singapore’s Heritage. They are uniquely Singaporean since they focus on the cosmopolitan aspects of Singapore, the 4 main races in Singapore, the unique features of the various cultures and races. For instance, the game ‘Racialpoly’ and CIMEO test on the players’ knowledge of the different races in Singapore. The game ‘Game of Singapore Life’ features a typical life of a Singaporean who pays taxes, indulges in stocks and shares, queues for a HDB apartment and is paid baby bonus. ‘Pioneers of Singapore’ requires the players to match the pioneers, like Tan Tock Seng and Lim Bo Seng, to their contribution and achievement. Though the concept may be similar to that of the ‘Old Maid’ or ‘Donkey’ card game, the game has a local flavour. Since they contain profound content, they help to enhance the teaching of National Education and Social Studies in classrooms. Moreover, when learning is done is a fun way, the impact is greater. These games also, inevitably, promote racial harmony especially when the pupils’ knowledge of Singapore’s Heritage and the 4 races is further enhanced.
These games which have been invented by students for students have also appealed to Mrs Esther Mok, N2 Cluster Superintendent. She has acknowledged the creativity of the pupils and has shown her interest in purchasing the games for her Cluster schools.
(Article submitted by Mrs Jaswinder Siva, Huamin Primary)