In March 2017, I was invited to University School Milwaukee to share the Mussel Madness story with over a hundred students in 8th grade science classes and also 4th grade social studies classes. My hosts were gracious and had great questions. They also sent me a thick stack of personalized thank-you notes, which I deeply appreciated.
What we noticed during play was the great variety of Mussel Madness game types that can emerge. I was proud to see that happen. We also observed that, as expected, young players need a bit more bootstrapping to play than older players.
Overall, I was impressed by the interest of the students and how the games opened different sides of the students to sometimes provocative scenarios. Many kids also really loved the trivia component of the game. Some students connected the game with previous field or text experiences.
Still, the mussels story is not one that most have encountered in a way that makes one care, and this game opens up so many vital discussions related to invasive species, environmental/economic balance, and societal choices.
Really proud of these students and really grateful to Ms. DeTorre for the opportunity to share my story.