AP Chem Synthesizes Board Games

Students watch as Mr. Jahn 3D prints a chess piece.  Photo Credit: WanHua Rong

Students watch as Mr. Jahn 3D prints a chess piece. Photo Credit: WanHua Rong


AP Chemistry students are being tested on their creativity and knowledge by designing chemistry-inspired games.

Mr. Cameron Jahn, an AP Chemistry teacher said, “The game should be creative and look nice, it should not be confusing, it should play smoothly, and finally, students must present the game as if they were pitching it to an educational gaming company.”

The purpose of the games is to apply all the information students learned throughout the school year and  help future students review AP chemistry topics.

 “It’s more fun and interactive to create a game as a way to review,” said Sharon Wong ’20.

The project began during the second week of May. Students will get at least two days to play their games and present. 

Before giving the guidelines, Mr. Jahn allowed students to research how games are structured in class by bringing in several board games. Students had to explore the instructions of the games to get ideas to develop their own games.

It is the first attempt at making games for most students. It can be challenging not to plagiarize another board game. However, students can modify one of their favorite games by citing sources and giving credit.

“The challenge of this project is to make the game both educational and fun,” said Suyin Li ’20. “For most people, when they hear the term ‘educational,’ the word ‘fun’ doesn’t come to mind.”

So far, most groups are sticking with board games and card games. One group is using the periodic table as the playing surface. The cards include AP Chemistry questions, reactants that can form reactions (the number of steps a player moves depends on the type of reaction), and hazard cards. This idea came from the card game “Exploding Kittens.” 

Another group titled their game “Papa Jahn’s Element Pizza,” after Mr. Jahn.

“The goal of our game is to make as many element pizzas as you can in five minutes,” said Anisa Kaloshi ’20. “Each group is given 15 orders from customers, which are inspired by names of students in our class. You have to answer chemistry questions with the correct choice, which corresponds to a specific ingredient in the pizza. You have to work as a team to beat other groups.” 

Each group also has the opportunity to 3D print game pieces, depending on the size. 

Mr. Jahn said, “There are so many entry-level tools available now [with 3D printing] that learning the ropes is pretty easy for most people.”

Wong said, “I have never used a 3D printer before, so it’s a new experience for me. I think it’s cool that you can print in 3D, instead of cutting paper and just gluing it together.”

The project will be due on June 12. Each group will explain their game during a ten minute presentation. Afterward, there will be time to try out the games.

FeaturesCasey Levinson