Retro Hunting In Spa Country

Ms ausretrogamer and I hit spa country in north western Victoria on a fine winter’s day a few weekends ago.

From the Daylesford Sunday Market to local vintage bazaars and The Amazing Mill Markets in Ballarat and Daylesford, we found vintage goodies that warmed our cockles.


Grade 2A’s Museum of Gaming

We were blown away when we saw this tweet (thanks to Dan Donahoo) – a museum of gaming put together by primary school kids, wow!

The tweet that piqued our interest

We just had to get in touch with teacher Tamryn Kingsley from Aitken Creek Primary School to find out more about Grade 2A’s Museum of Gaming.

Grade 2A’s Museum of Gaming

Tamryn was originally a Merchandise Planner, but she has now found her calling as a teacher. She’s been at Aitken Creek Primary School for two years and is passionate about integrating technology into her classroom.

AUSRETROGAMER [ARG]: How did the museum come about?
Tamryn Kingsley [TK]: At our school we engage students in an inquiry process through ‘Challenge Based Learning’. Challenge based learning revolves around students being set a challenge and working towards finding a solution for the challenge. The ‘Big Idea’ this term is ‘Change’ and the challenge is ‘Inform society of the changes in gaming’. In discussions with students (Grade 2) none of them had ever heard of the Atari! I knew that my mum still had our old Atari’s from when we were kids so I began to raid her garage which opened up a can of worms… I thought, what better way to engage students with their learning than having the physical items to explore.

To learn about ‘Change’, Grade 2A accepted the challenge to ‘Inform society of the changes in gaming’

ARG: Is the museum a regular part of the curriculum – or is this the first time you’ve done it?
TK: This was something that only my class participated in and it was the first time I had done it. It is something I would definitely do again as the children were so engaged in the learning that was going along with it, as well as developing fundamental skills.

Last year my Grade 2s developed their own games using the program Scratch and we are currently working with the whole Grade 2 cohort this year to do the same thing. This is a huge inquiry process into gaming which results in students creating games and then showcasing their games through a game convention.

We have a new Digital Technologies curriculum that has been rolled out across Victoria this year. Wherever I can, I integrate tech and gaming into my curriculum. For example, making game controllers using Makey Makey invention kits.

Controller designs for the Makey Makey project
makey-makey-controllers(photo source)

ARG: What was the aim of the museum?
TK: As well as relating to the ‘Challenge Based Learning’ challenge, the museum also linked with Literacy and Numeracy curriculum areas. During Reading and Writing lessons we explored the purpose of informative texts. It was then that I introduced the gaming consoles to the students, from there they worked in groups to explore and find out information about their console. Their aim at this stage was to find out everything they could about it. We created timelines of when the consoles were released comparing consoles in years.

Kids worked in groups to find out about the consoles

During discussions we talked about where would we find these kinds of ‘artefacts’. From this the kids came up with wanting to open their very own ‘Gaming Museum’, which brought up a lot of questions: Who works in a museum? How do they run? Who is in charge of what? How do they make displays? In order to run an effective museum we began to explore different jobs required in the museum and the skills that each job brought with them. Students began to assess the skills they could each bring and chose the jobs that they thought they could provide the most to.

The class created timelines of when the consoles were released and chose jobs

With the jobs allocated, it was time for everyone to take on their role and prepare the museum.

The Directors and Public Relations team organised an open day for parents and other students to come in and explore the museum.

The Registrars took lists of the artefacts we had at the museum to make sure we did not loose anything!

The Educators reviewed all the research so when they took ‘tours’ they were able to answer questions.

Graphic Designers were busy designing the ‘look’ of the artefact labels, choosing fonts, colours, size and typing up all the information. We had been to Melbourne Museum and ACMI this year, so they looked back at photos and used their knowledge of the labelling to help them.

Designing the artefact labels

The Exhibit Designers were trying to work out how they could make glass cases… They decided to use their knowledge of 3D shapes to make cases using PlayDoh and skewers. Unfortunately as the artefacts were bigger their structures began to collapse – they got 10 points for effort though…

ARG: What consoles and games did you have in the museum?

  • Raise the Devil Electronic Pinball
  • Tomytronics Tennis
  • Mario Cement Factory
  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 2
  • Atari 2600 Jr
  • PSP
  • Pokemon Nintendo 64

All the lovely consoles and games

ARG: Where did the consoles and games come from – are they yours?
TK: Some of the consoles were ones my mum had hidden in her garage. Most of them were actually my brother’s when he was younger, which I fondly remember playing. She had the Atari, Mario Cement Factory, and the Tennis and Pinball games. The rest were from my sister and her husband, who are big fans of gaming. I was warned not to damage or lose them!

ARG: Are you a fan of video games, and classic games in particular?
TK: I do love playing games occasionally, but I am not a huge gamer. What I love about games is the connections that you can make with kids though gaming and the types of learning that takes place. Making these real world and authentic connections with students creates more powerful learning.

ARG: What did the kids think of the museum?

  • ‘Magnificent!’ – Ronan
  • ‘Our museum was good because we added lots of information’ – Jaylen
  • ‘It was like a mini ACMI’ – Jessica
  • ‘I liked it because it was ordered from oldest to newest’ – Zain
  • ‘I thought it was amazing, because we put a lot of effort into it’ – Talia
  • ‘I think it was very good because a lot of people commented on how good it was. We really liked it too and we were really proud of ourselves’ – Abaan

The awesome kids of Grade 2A – great work guys!

The museum opened for business and parents and other students came to enjoy it and learnmog-3


So, that’s the story of Grade 2A’s Museum of Gaming – an awesome example of Challenge Based Learning. We can’t wait to see what Tamryn and the kids and staff of Aitken Creek Primary School do next!

Photos from Tamryn Kingsley (unless otherwise stated)


msausretrogamerMs. ausretrogamer
Co-founder, editor and writer at ausretrogamer – The Australian Retro Gamer E-Zine. Lover of science fiction, fashion, books, movies and TV. Player of games, old and new.

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