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Area elementary students partake in annual cardboard arcade games

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WAOW) -- Grove Elementary fifth graders showed off their homemade cardboard arcade games with younger elementary school students Friday. It's an annual project the school has organized for at least three years.

Fifth grade teacher Erin Michels greeted those younger students and explained the rules to them. Rule one was to have fun. Rule two was to walk.

Moments later, each student was given 10 tickets to use at the cardboard arcade games.

"The kids love it," said Michels. "They look forward to it and the whole school gets to come."

While children were throwing wads of tape into hoops and holes, Michels explained the origins of the day.

"A few years ago we started 'Genius Hour' where the students are trying different things to figure out what their passions are," Michels said. "And I noticed a lot of the kids were building games and we started to kind of investigate that idea and it turned into a card board arcade."

The students now learn how to build their custom games through an established process. Teachers encourage fifth graders to be creative while learning economics.

"A lot of times kids will come back and they'll say 'do you remember when we did the cardboard arcade?' " said Michels. "And 'do you remember how much money I made and how much money I lost?' And even just to have them thinking about that… I think that's a movement in the right direction."

Sarah Mohrbacher, another fifth grade teacher, explained the value of the yearly project.

"Seeing their faces light up and have fun playing games… seeing their games succeed and watch how many tickets they get, or kids coming back to play the game," said Mohrbacher. "Or their line getting longer is kind of exciting for them to do. And it's a nice way to spend Valentine's Day."

"It's not so much about testing or 'oh, I need to hand these papers in,' " said Michels. "It's really about having fun and learning what you like to do."

Curtis Aderholdt

A WAOW photo journalist since December 2014.

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