Bone Builder

Valley View High School


I was inspired by the Ready, Print, Play competition from EAST Conference 2019. This competition was about creating educational board games with the help of 3D printing. I came up with the idea of Bone Builder to help teach the human skeletal system. Many concepts that are mostly memory based are hard for younger students to grasp. A large percentage of students just memorize what they need to know for the test. I want to help students really learn concepts like this. My project addresses the human skeletal system in particular. There have been studies that show that learning aids that have something physical for students to hold helps them learn better. A common example of this is doing an experiment in a science class.

Bone Builder includes a board, cards, and many 3D printed bones which are interconnected with a system of hooks and loops. To play the game, each player, or team of players, rolls a die or spinner to figure out what number of spaces to move their skull game piece. After moving their piece, players follow the directions on the space they landed on. Examples of these directions are "pick one arm bone" and "pick one bone." Players continue moving around the board and collecting bones until a player has collected all of the bones. The winner is the player, or team of players, who collects all of the bones and builds their skeleton first. Each player, or team of players, has a card corresponding to the color of their skull game piece that shows how to assemble the skeleton. I have also made a quiz to give to students before and after playing Bone Builder to see if, or how much, their scores have improved.

Bone Builder was made using many different technologies. Most notably is the use of 3D printing. The bones were all designed on TinkerCAD and further perfected on Cura. Cura is the software that allows you to tweak 3D files and convert them into instructions readable by the 3D printer. The board, cards, and quiz were all made in Adobe Illustrator. I worked closely with my school’s 5th grade science teachers throughout the creation of Bone Builder ever since I came up with the idea. The game was completed in early May 2021 and was given to the 5th grade students. When delivering the game, students were interested in how it was made and were very excited to be able to play it in their classes. The teachers were also excited to have a new learning aid in their classes. The future of Bone Builder will be in the Valley View 5th grade science classes, and I have been working with Maker Made, a 3D printer company, to further develop the game.

- Ella Layton