Students create board game for elderly

These three UW-Green Bay freshmen didn’t know each other, until they took a First-Year Seminar course called “The Meaning of Play.”

The three were partners on a group project where they had to create a game for the elderly. As you can see from this video, the students took it further, by going to play their new game with residents of a Green Bay area nursing home.

“It was just really neat to interact with them and they were so happy to have us come there. It was really fun,” said freshman Kelsey Riesterer from Manitowoc.

The board game examined the physical, cognitive and social aspects of play for elderly through a series of questions and answers.

“It just got them up moving around, got their brains working and it’s just a fun way to interact with people in the community,” said freshman Jenna Bradley from Crandon.

The students weren’t just there to play. They were also there to listen and learn.

“A lot of our questions had to deal with past events. And hearing them tell their own stories about the questions that related to it, it was just really cool to hear about it,” said freshman Lisa Gehrke from Mequon.

“It was just really fun,” Riesterer said. “We didn’t think we would stay very long. We thought it would take 15 minutes. We stayed for over an hour and we weren’t bored. It was a fun experience.”

Professor Illene Noppe says the project was excellent.

“They really thought carefully about the construction of their game and how it would help elderly people. It was very impressive,” Noppe said.

As a First-Year Seminar course, the class is designed to help students adjust to campus life and develop intellectual and life skills, in a small size seminar environment.

“What the first-year seminars are really trying to do is to teach our new students how to think on a higher plane, how to critically analyze, how to problem solve. There’s a lot of emphasis on interdisciplinarity,” Noppe said.

Noppe said the seminar courses are a valuable part of the curriculum.

“I told my students toward the end of the semester that the first day that I met them I saw high school seniors. And that now when I look out in the classroom I see college students,” Noppe said. “It even gives me goose bumps to think about the transformation that I saw take place over one semester.”

Students give the course high marks.

“I liked it a lot. It’s more one-on-one. You can meet with your teacher a lot easier. She helps you a lot,” Gehrke said.

“It was an out-of-the-box class. It wasn’t just your average subject like English or math. It was different. You got to explore new things in the class and I got to learn a lot of interesting things I never thought I would,” Bradley said.

And they also got to make new friends in the process.