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Board game designed by history

teacher wins gold award at Kaizen


competition in Tokyo

The ECS can be used to help children improve their knowledge of


history.
A GROUP of students from SM Teknik Jalan Yaacob Latif in Cheras,
Kuala Lumpur, was immersed in a board game in their school recently.
They were clearly animated and focused on it, and one could tell that
while the girls seemed to be serious about their game, they looked like
they were having fun.
Upon closer inspection, the game they were enjoying looked very much
like Monopoly, but with a twist.

The students Nur Aqilah Mohamed Zaidi, Kaiyesa Muhammad Shakir


and Nur Atikah Abd Hamid, all aged 16 were not merely playing a
board game, they were actually studying history!
Players have to answer history questions from the square they land on,
and will get one dinar with each correct answer.
Its interesting and makes learning fun, said Kaiyesa.

Zulhelmi says the inspiration for ECS was from the Monopoly board game.

You never know what question you are going to get, and when we
finally know the answer, its always fascinating to find out, added the
bubbly teenager.
And once you have played a few times, you wont forget the answer
ever again, said Nur Atiqah with a laugh.
Topics such as the ancient Rome civilisation, the pyramids of Egypt
and the Great Wall of China have become fun to read.

So when we finish a topic at school, we like to test our knowledge and


memory by playing this game, said Kaiyesa.
According to the girls, the entire game revolves around history topics
including South-East Asian history, world history and Islamic history.
This educational tool, Eksplorasi Cabaran Sejarah (Historical
Exploration Challenge) or ECS for short, is the brainchild of Mohd
Zulhelmi Mansor, a history teacher from Selangor. He created the the
board game five years ago to help his students master the subject.
My students were struggling with history lessons and kept complaining
that it was a tough subject, said Zulhelmi.
They kept saying it was boring, there were too many facts to remember
and they found it difficult to memorise the names, he said.

So I did some research and found that apart from history books and
workbooks, there were no other tools available in the market that could
be used to help children improve their knowledge of history.
Collaborative and cooperative learning
The idea itself stems from the concept of collaborative and cooperative
learning, Zulhelmi explained.
It involves groups of students coming together to discuss a topic, for
instance Ancient Rome.
They have discussions as they play the game, it is about working
together to solve a problem collectively as a team, he elaborated.
After a player has rolled the dice, they are asked a question and if the
particular player is unable to answer, then it is open to others.
The making of ECS
Zulhelmi said the inspiration for ECS wasfrom the Monopoly board
game. Armed with a database of questions compiled after several
brainstorming sessions with a group of history teachers from technical
schools and with help from a former student, Zulhelmi came up with this
ingenious way to get his students to embrace history lessons.
The game was developed around the History syllabus of Form Four and
Five, and aimed at helping students memorise and retain historical
information without having to mug up their history books all the time.
And it worked!
I realised that children today prefer playing games, and they particularly
like competitive games. So I thought why not create a platform like the
classic board games and students can learn history the fun way.
He noted that apart from the ECS being an academic tool, students also
pick up social skills while playing the game.
I noticed in all my students who have played the game, they
communicate and interact better with each other. And it fosters goodwill
among them, thats a plus point, he added.