Mayfield Junior School: Egyptian Arcade – Creative Engineering in Sixth Grade

It was a bit of a party on campus when the Holy Child Courtyard was transformed into an Egyptian Arcade. Enthusiastic players waited to try their luck at games with imaginative names such as The Pyramid’s Revenge, Ski Gods, Mummy Operation, and Egypt Toss. The best thing – every game was devised and engineered by sixth graders completely out of cardboard.

The Egyptian Arcade, which is based on the creative project turned movement, Caine’s Arcade, evolved from a history research paper the sixth graders were assigned. To turn the research into memorable experience, sixth grade history teacher, Nicole Sanders turned every Friday class into an Egyptian Fun Friday. On these special days, teams of students participated in a new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) competition to augment their knowledge on ancient Egyptian culture.

One week the students engineered a model of an Egyptian reed boat using only straws and one yard of tape. The winning boat held the most weight before sinking, and at the end students discussed what models worked best and why. Another Friday they designed step pyramids using sugar cubes examining why some failed and collapsed while others proved stable.

To prepare for the final project, the Egyptian Arcade, every bit of spare cardboard from toilet paper rolls to used shipping boxes, was collected, and students brainstormed game ideas and drafted blueprints. The day before the actual arcade, the field became a giant construction zone as the students had 90 minutes to build their games. For the students the challenges involved with the project were worth it. “We tried really hard to recreate an authentic video arcade experience with our game.” student Krish Malhotra explained, “ It was a fun and great to work together as a team from start to finish.”

Mayfield Junior School, 405 South Euclid Ave., Pasadena, (626) 796-2774 or visit






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