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Element Poker feat. Jason Bodnar- 70 (Science, game-based learning, board game clubs)

Episode Overview

In this episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin talks to Jason from Engage Games. Jason has a game called Element Poker on Kickstarter. Element Poker employs some very clever mechanics to help with learning the different elements. Be sure to check out the game on Kickstarter and listen in to the episode to learn more about the game. Jason also shares his experiences running a board game club and his inspirations for the game.

Email: jason@engagegames.net

Twitter: @engagegames

Facebook: www.facebook.com/engagegames

Instagram: www.instagram.com/engagegames

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their songs “Retro Gamer” and “Mumbai Mood” for our interview and desert island segments. These songs can be found in full on this music archive.

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Episode Topics

WorldsXP is almost here!

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WorldsXP is a streamlined gameful experience for your learning environment to increase engagement, develop class culture, and reinforce positive behavior. By implementing WorldsXP you will be able to enhance the learning experience for your adventurers through different gamification elements. As the Kit Master, your Adventurers (students) will choose characters, give them their own unique personalities, go on thematic RPG adventures, and earn XP and achievements all while accomplishing three main goals in your learning environment.

The kit includes two decks of 27 unique character cards, 27 item and achievement cards, 108 XP cards, and a 40-page Teacher’s Handbook loaded with tips for implementing the kit and using gamification and game-based learning for your learning environment.

With WorldsXP you will have a gamified curriculum as a part of your learning environment with the core components of characters, an RPG Adventure Story, and XP. This can be “laid on top of” an already designed classroom management structure and curriculum. You will be able to use the XP system as a behavioral management system, and you will be able to integrate learning objectives into the RPG Adventure Stories. It will help to encourage engagement and motivation, develop culture, and reinforce positive behavior in your adventure space. These are the core components of WorldsXP. Be sure to sign-up for the email list below to receive updates about the advanced features and to know when WorldsXP launches on Kickstarter.   

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Jason Bodnar – 1:20

Jason teaches high school science and computer science in Waterloo, Indiana.  Other than making and playing games, Jason enjoys being with his awesome five-year-old daughter Adelynn, playing piano, reading, and going to concerts.  This past year Jason started Engage Games, a company dedicated to developing unique science-based games for inside the classroom and out.  Jason also runs the board game club and helps with the speech team.

Combining Science and Poker – 2:18

Jason is excited to be able to combine poker and science into a game. He wanted to bring a simple game that teaches students science-based ideas, so he started to develop the game Element Poker. He has since used the game with his students and is currently (10/13/19) funded on Kickstarter. Check it out!

Element Poker and Game-based Learning – 4:45

What Element Poker does great is tap into great game mechanics that employ game-based learning strategies. With Element Poker and game-based learning students are learning the content through play. The game is easy to implement and a great way to introduce students to and even help them master the periodic table of elements. The game uses different poker mechanics to help students associate real-world examples of how we encounter the elements in everyday life.

Design Choices in Element Poker – 7:18

As a teacher, Jason was very conscience about the design choices he made for the game and how it can be used in the classroom and impact student learning. Each card includes a unique fact about each of the elements to help students understand different uses for the elements. Be sure to listen in to learn more about Jason’s design choices.

Dustin Backs Element Poker – 11:12

Dustin backs Element Poker and Jason shares a bit about his story and why he started the company Engage Games. He talks about why he wants to build a company and a community of like-minded educators to continue to bring great games to the classroom. Be sure to back the project before October 31, 2019.

Board Game Club – 14:40

Jason talks about his inspiration for board games and using games in his role as a teacher. He talks about the company Genius Games that develops science-based games for learning. He also shares how kids are able to enjoy board games in his after school club in a meaningful way. He talks about the amazing first-hand experiences he has witnessed as he watched relationships in the club grow.

Final Tips from Jason – 20:20

Jason echoes a lot of the same advice other guests have shared. Reach out to the gaming community, take risks, and connect to others to grow your passion project. Just go for it!

Games from the Episode

Throughout the episode, several games are mentioned. If any of these games sound like something you might enjoy playing yourself or in your class, you can help support our podcast by purchasing these games through our Amazon affiliate links. We will earn a small commission at no expense to you. Check out the games below:

Melissa’s Desert Island Questionnaire


Twilight Imperium

Detective City of Angels and Black Angel

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