# What is an idea for a fun board game centered around plate tectonics?

liesljohnson | Certified Educator

What a fun project! Let me suggest how I would tackle this project.

Okay, so you have a Monopoly board that you need to turn into Plate Tectonicsopoly. Cover the middle of the board with solid colored paper and then draw the name of the game on it in huge letters (“Plate Techtonicsopoly”).

Print out some cool pictures related to the topic and tape those neatly onto the board. Let me suggest these images:

http://f.tqn.com/y/geography/1/W/Y/c/1/graben.jpg

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1694659/images/n-PLATE-TECTONICS-CONTINENTS-628x314.jpg

They are, no doubt, copyrighted, but I don’t think their creators will mind if you use them for a school project.

Keep the dice from the game box, but set aside the play pieces and quickly make your own (and score creativity points) by creating little representations of important people in the field of plate tectonics: Harry Hess, Alfred Wegener, Arthur Holmes, and Sir Edward Bullard.

To make these, fold an index card into thirds, draw your guy on one of the segments and label him with his name, fold up your figure into a little standing triangular prism, and tape the edges closed. Keep your drawings really simple—no need for photorealism here!

Now you need to cover the play spaces (the squares) with your own designs so that they match the theme of the game. I suggest cutting out individual squares that are the right size, adding your content to them, and THEN taping them onto the board. That way you aren’t trying to write or draw over any taped portions. Here’s a tip: you can make your own squares larger than the ones that are actually on the board; it’ll make your work go faster, and you don’t necessarily need as many game spaces as Monopoly has.

Start with the “GO” space. Just cover this with a simple image of two land masses and an arrow to show the direction that they’re moving as well as the direction of game play on the board. Using a very thick marker and a steady hand will help your images appear simple and neat rather than hasty and basic. Now cover the “GO TO JAIL” space. Make it say “GO TO THE INNER CORE.” Likewise, cover the “JAIL” space with an image of the earth’s inner core and a label that says “INNER CORE.” Then, cover the “FREE PARKING” space with a simple image of a hill and make it say “RELAX ON THE EARTH’S CRUST.” When you type up your game play instructions, just indicate that “When you land on ‘Go,’ ‘Inner Core,’ or ‘Crust,’ all you have to do is say a true fact about whatever is on the picture.”

Before we move on to covering the rest of the game spaces, consider how you’ll play the game. Keep things simple. Real Monopoly has two systems going at once: you try to buy up property cards, and you periodically draw cards from the other two decks to initiate random events. There’s no need for both systems for your own game.

Let’s simply imagine that the goal of the game is to earn the most “knowledge cards” and that the game is over when all the knowledge cards have been drawn. So, go around the board spaces and label lots of them “Draw 1 card.” Label some of them “Draw 2 cards.” Label others “Lose a Turn,” “Roll Again,” “Steal a Card,” “Donate a Card,” and whatever else you might think of to make the turns a little more lively than just answering plate tectonics questions!

Once you've gotten your board completely designed, you're ready to write up the instructions for the game. Just keep it simple: describe who goes first (how about the youngest player?), how to roll the dice and advance to a space, how to perform the action for each space, how to keep a knowledge card only if you got it right, and how you know the game is over (the knowledge cards are gone) and how to determine the winner (whoever has the most cards).

Now all you need is your deck of 40 cards. I’d use index cards for this—there’s no need for extra cutting and folding if you can avoid it. We want a question on the front of a card and the answer on the back, and if you have time, try to spruce up your cards by adding an earthquake-inspired spiky border around the edges.

To make the cards, open your textbook to the section on plate tectonics, find some facts, and turn them into questions. I’ll write a bunch of them to get you started, but really, this is the easy part.

If you run out of material, go back to some questions you’ve already written and ask them in a different way or reverse them. For example, instead of asking what a geologist studies, ask what type of scientist studies forces that make and shape the planet.

Question: What does a geologist study?

Answer: A geologist studies forces that make and shape the planet.

Question: What is geology?

Answer: Geology is the study of the planet Earth.

Question: What do constructive forces do?

Answer: They shape the Earth's surface by building up mountains and land masses.

Question: What do destructive forces do?

Answer: They slowly wear away mountains and other features on Earth's surface.

Question: Define “continent.”

Answer: A continent is a land mass surrounded by ocean.

Question: What are the names of all 7 continents?

Answer: 1. North America 2. South America 3. Africa 4. Europe 5. Asia 6. Australia 7. Antarctica.

Question: What do you call the force pushing on a surface or area?

Question: The outermost layer of the earth is called what?

Question: What is the crust made out of?

Question: Made of basalt rock, this layer is located beneath the ocean. What’s it called?

Question: Where is the continental crust?

Answer: It’s located beneath the continents.

Question: What is the continental crust made of?

Question: The thickest layer of the earth is called what?

Question: Is the mantle made of hot rock or cold rock?

Question: The lithosphere and the asthenosphere are located in which layer of the earth?

Question: What part of the earth is made if iron and nickel?