Martin J Gottlieb Jewish Day School,
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Whack-a-Haman was an international collaboration between Jewish Interactive (based in South Africa, UK and Israel) and Martin J Gottlieb Jewish Day School (Jacksonville, Florida). The students designed the game and its assets under the guidance of Jewish Interactive and their teacher. Jewish Interactive produced the game.
We wanted our 6th graders to learn how to build an app, and we decided to combine their Jewish Studies in the process. So, we collaborated with Jewish Interactive.
We decided on the topic of Purim, as that gave us enough time to work on it throughout the school year. The students were tasked with researching everything there was to know about Purim. While they were researching, they were thinking about game ideas.
Each group came up with game design, which was presented via Skype with Jewish Interactive. The best concept was chosen, and we went ahead with production. I explained the roles involved, and roles were assigned.
Jewish Interactive presented Skype lessons to the middle school students on:
- Lesson plans and education
- Instructional design of games
- Graphic design
- Basic programming
- Marketing and budgeting
Once roles were assigned, we made a plan, and deadlines were set. We skyped with Ji each week, presenting progress and getting feedback. The children also got to speak with the various Ji team members, finding out about the roles in real life.
We got the school Rabbi to check our facts, and once they were approved, we worked on the artwork, sounds and voiceover, and sent it through to Ji. Corinne (instructional designer), Rochi (graphic artist) and David (programmer) picked it up and produced the app. I got the English teacher involved, and the children wrote their own description for the app store as an English exercise.
Some Purim fun!
Purim!! Purim? The festive Jewish holiday based on the story recorded in the Megillah, Purim is a holiday full of costumes, games, and goodies. It’s super fun, and this game adds to the fun. It is a creative twist on the classic game of “Whack a Mole.” This game is “Whack a Haman.” Haman, what? Haman, the Purim villain. You can learn even more about this fun Jewish holiday by playing this addictive, yet educational game.
You whack the Hamans that pop up by tapping them. Try not to whack the hamentashen!! When the questions pop up, try to answer them correctly first time. Your points will add up when you whack the Hamans or answer the questions correctly. Do you want to impress your Jewish friends with facts about the Jewish holiday of Purim? Then this game is for you!
Who created such a wonderful game? Middle-schoolers, actually! This game was created by an international partnership between Jewish Interactive, an Educational Trust based in South Africa and Israel, and 6th and 7th grade students from the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School (MJGDS) in Jacksonville, Florida.
The sixth graders wrote the questions that pop up at multiple points in the game, and seventh graders created the drawings, the score, the audio, and everything else but the questions. The game was animated, programmed and produced by Jewish Interactive. The Jewish Interactive team mentored the students throughout the project.
It is amazing that middle-schoolers created this game!
So, you should go and play “Whack a Haman”, and remember… Don’t hit the hamentashen!
Once the app was released, Corinne would update me daily about downloads. I put a huge map on the wall to pinpoint where in the world children were playing ‘Whack-a-Haman’.
This whole exercise was totally cross-curricular, and the breadth of learning was incredible. We loved the idea so much, that the following year I repeated the collaboration with Ji, and the next class produced ‘Race to the Red Sea’.
Some Passover fun!
Run! Run! Run! You are a Jew who is trying to escape Egypt and make it to the Red Sea. You can use the plagues to slow down the Egyptians, and you have to collect certain power ups to survive past them. Some of the many plagues are wild animals, boils, and blood. You can either avoid the Pharaoh by jumping over him, or hit him with plagues. While this is going on, you also have to collect letters to spell the 10 plagues in Hebrew.
This game was made by the 7th grade students at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School. If you are looking for a game with action and danger, this is the game for you. Run quickly and Race to the Red Sea!