Saturday, July 7, 2007

Family Feud - the game

By Margaret Orleans

The game involves lots of different stages called Bullseye Round, Face-Off, Feud, and Fast-Money Round, but the basic premise is that past audiences have been surveyed and 100 answers have been arranged in order of most common. The contestants, who compete as two five-member families (the numbers can easily be adjusted) take turns trying to guess these answers for points/dollars.

Here are some sample questions. The answers will follow later, so as not to spoil the fun for you.

1. Name something that would be hard to eat with chopsticks.
2. Name something some people plan to do, but then chicken out.
3. Tell me an animal with a reputation for being stupid.
4. Name something that has a spring inside.
5. Name something that might be gray.
6. Tell me a country which still has arranged marriages.
7. Name something that a teacher thinks he already knows about a student just bcause the teacher had an older brother or sister in class.
8. Tell me something that puts a smile on a baby's face.
9. Name a North American sport team that has a bird nickname.
10. Name a person whose theories changed the world.

Looking at these questions, you will notice several things:

a. Many of them are culturally bound (and I was quite selective about these questions).
b. Any question that will generate at least half a dozen reasonable responses will do.
c. Students at almost any level can generate questions of this sort (and questions that will be much more appropriate for their classmates to use in the game).

So once you have played a round or two so that students get the hang of the game, I think the best strategy is to break them into teams and have them generate their own questions.

Then, outside the class, they can collect responses. The same hundred respondants can be asked quite a few questions, but it's best not to ask other students in the class. This is good practice for doing more complicated surveys for later projects.

Once the data has been collected, students can get back together in groups to decide which questions to use, who will play what role as game show hosts, etc. (another useful class activity with an obvious conclusion)

Okay. Have you decided your answers to the questions? Here are the ones from the answer book and the number of points attached to each one.

1. soup (47), saghetti (14), peas (10), jello (5), ice cream (3), steak (2)

2. get married (27), sky dive (16), bungee jumping (11), ask for a raise (4), diet (3), tell someone off (3), ask someone out on a date (2), buy a house (2), change careers (2), go to a dentist (2)

3. donkey/mule (31), cow (11), sheep (8), elephant (6), pig (5), turkey (5), monkey/ape (4), ox (4), possum (4), dog (3)

4. ballpoint pen (12), couch (6), flashlight (4), gun(2), jack-in-the-box (2)

5. Hair (51), sky/clouds (17), clothes/coat (6), elephant (6), cat (3), car (3), mouse (3), boat (2)

6. India (40), Japan (17), China (15), Iran (9), Italy (5), Israel (4), Spain (3), Greece (2)

7. intelligence (48), behavior (24), personality (6), about parent (3), attitudes (3), study habits (3)

8. tickle (31), being with mom/dad (17), talking to them (10), gas (9), toy/rattle (8), making faces (4), bottle (3), smiling at them (3), animal (2), clean dry
diaper (2)

9. St. Louis Cardinals (38), Baltimore Orioles (23), Toronoto Blue Jays (17), Seattle Seahwks (6), Philadelphia Eagles (4), Atlanta Falcons (3), Anaheim Mighty Ducks (2), Arizona Cardinals (2), Atlanta Hawks (2)

10. Albert Einstein (43), Newton (14), Darwin (8), Columbus (7), Ben Franklin (4), Jesus (6), Freud (3), Galileo (3), Hitler (3), Thomas Edison (3)

The game starts with one member of each family coming forward to answer the first question and attempting to control that round by naming the more popular answer. The winning team can then elect to pass or play. Whichever team plays tries to name all the answers before accruing three strikes (incorrect guesses), answering in turn. If a team strikes out, play passes to the other team. One correct answer is enough to win the round (and all the points gained by the first team) for them; one wrong answer is enough to lose the round for them.

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