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Inside DISD
Students transport to arcade days of old

By Robby Robertson
DISD Communications Specialist

Third-grade students at Calder Road Elementary School in Dickinson ISD are going back in time to the arcade days of old. Students in Jennifer Reed’s Gifted and Talented class are building arcade games and sketching utopian cities for the upcoming school showcase on March 5.  

“This is the Gator Arcade group and they are designing arcade games from cardboard,” Reed Said. “They had to research games before they started to see what made them successful and which ones failed, so that they would have a grasp of the whole project.”  

Other students in the class were drawing maps of utopia cities, everything from where stop signs are to railroad tracks, bus stations and homes. The students studied maps of different areas to come up with an imaginary design of a city to bring it to life. Justin McLaren said his arcade game was called the shooting computer.

“First I had to draw a design,” he said. “I saw something like it in a book. It wasn’t exactly the same thing so I made it my own. Then I got two boxes and put them together and cut out the holes where they were needed.”

Reed said the best part of the project has been what the students have learned while in the process. “They are all excited to build their projects, but when they have to go online or read a book and study about what made their games exciting or why certain games were not popular, they gain a lot of great knowledge they didn’t know before,” he said. “It’s almost like a history lesson.”

Kennady Spies and Kirra Gonzales said they were drawing a girls Utopia city. “You see it has the fountains and the stop signs,” Spies said. “The roads are going all different directions, but we make sure that everything is included.”

Gonzales said they even have roads named after themselves. “If you look right here we have Spies Drive and Gonzales Road,” she said. “We also have the Gonzales Bank and Spies Post Office.” Reed said once it is all put together, the kids will have to run it like it was a real arcade on the night of the showcase. An engineer is scheduled to come out at the end of February to go through each game and look at any design flaws and make any last minute changes that need to be made.

“We just finished painting these games, and now we have to get them finished with what makes them work before the engineer comes in,” she said. “We may have to cut some holes or redirect something here or there to make sure they work properly. There is a lot of work that goes into this.”

The projects will be judged and the winners will move on to the district level competition, according to Reed.


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