Friday, October 3, 2008

Games for learning

"Peg" Margaret Orleans - Japan

[These are games you can buy or make.]

1. Would You Rather

Draw one of the 40 questions cards and read one of the five questions on it aloud. Choose how you would answer the question and secretly put the answer chip (1 or 2) in your fist. Each player guesses your answer, after which you reveal your answer by showing the chip. Each correct guesser gets one card. Discard the card you played. Play moves clockwise. If that player doesn't have a card, he/she draws one. The winner is the first player with five cards.

(In version 2 of the rules, the player reading the card tries to guess how the group will answer the question. If he/she guesses correctly, he/she wins the card. This version calls for more discussion of the question.)

Sample questions:

Would you rather go to a party with (1) a terrible haircut or (2) extremely out-of-fashion clothes? Would you rather lose (1) your memory or (2) your vision? Would you rather (1) travel the world or (2) build your dream house? Would you rather (1) call an important client by the wong name or (2) blank on your fiancee's parents' names when you are introducing them to your parents? Would you rather (1) have a mouse run up your pant leg or (2) have a wasp get caught inside your shirt?


Here's the description from the website:

"Hoopla is the outrageously fun game where every second counts, with two or more players rallying together to beat the clock. There are four categories of question cards: Cloodle (drawing, similar to Pictionary), Tongue-Tied (giving alliteration clues to a single word), Soundstage >(charades), and Tweener (giving clues in the form "it's bigger than but >smaller than," using two objects that imply the answer). If the players >manage to work through the requisite number of cards in fifteen minutes, >the game is won by all.

"This game takes five minutes to learn and just 20 minutes to play. Includes: 280 Hoopla cards, a countdown timer, a ten-sided Cranium die, and a Hoopla pad and pencil."

I think with students I would just give them the Tweener and Tongue-Tied options, though all four ways of giving clues will generate a lot of guessing. I like that the game is played cooperatively.

Sample clues:

It's taller than King Kong but shorter than the World Trade Towers. It's younger than New York City but older than the movie _Sleepless in Seattle_. (The Empire State Building)

Memphis, movie star, Mama's boy, My Baby Left Me (Elvis Presley)

Obviously many of the target words rely on the knowledge of American history and culture, so I will need to select carefully which cards to give them and/or make new cards for things they are more familiar with.


You can download the official rules of the game from this site:

Basically, the point of the game is to guess other players' preferences by choosing from the cards in your hand. If the Whoozit ranks your card highest, you get more points. Students tend to express surprise about some of the choices and ask follow-up questions.

Cards list both activities and objects (including lots of foods): walking the dog, bananas, game shows, science fiction, pickup trucks, jigsaw puzzles, fishing, hot dogs, broccoli, high heels, surfing, and flannel pajamas, to name a few.

With games like these, I generally ask students to make their own cards (and then use those cards with a similar group of students). You could ask students to write five favorite activities, five favorite objects, five favorite foods, and one thing they dislike in each category, for example.

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