Are you building excitement in your classroom? Are students dying to be called on in your class? If you are having trouble with this, read on!
I also show my math class this video. It is an amazing four minutes during which so many students, especially female students, make incredible connections to the speaker. It also destroys various stereotypes about 'math people.'
- "She's a math major? She looks like she'd be in fashion."
- "That's so true - I always compare myself to everyone else!"
- "I never thought of it as being at different places."
objective: don't die!
If you don't defeat the boss, you get new items and techniques to be better prepared the next time you reach that end level! Most of the students attached to this quite well.
Many have enjoyed the paradigm switch from "I didn't do well on the assessment" to "I need more power ups before I'm ready to beat that boss level."
I've also enjoyed impressing my new math teaching partner with my ability to turn any game into a classroom activity.
"Hey, Erika, we're going to play Clue today in math."
"Clue... in math? Can't wait to see it!"
Students came into class while some mystery music is playing. They saw their names on the board in groups of two with the instruction of 'sit next to your partner.'
But what if my partner is the killer?
Materials needed: Clue (cards and suspect sheets), white boards and markers (or notebooks)
Prep: Powerpoint of various math problems
Procedure: Put students into groups of two or three. One person is the first 'writer'. Each group receives a clue card of suspects, weapons, and location, a mini whiteboard, a marker, and a high tech white board eraser (a tissue.)
Each group also gets a set of 'clue' cards based on how many groups. The game has 21 cards, 3 of which are removed as the confidential 'answer.' The other 18 cards are divided up among the groups. This may mean that some groups get more initial clues than others, for example 6 groups would have 3 cards for each group, whereas 7 groups would have 2 or 3 cards per group.
Students should take a moment to mark off the clues they have been given. After that, they should leave their clues face down where anyone in the room would be able to access them. I generally have them 'fan' out their cards on their desk.
Put the first math problem on the board. Students work as a team to get the correct answer, but ONLY THE WRITER may write on the whiteboard. Other students can help, guide, and suggest, but the writer is in control. This also means if there is a disagreement about an answer or procedure, the writer gets the final say.
After an appropriate amount of time, have the students hold up their white boards. Any students that have a correct answer will have a chance to gain more information. The writer passes the white board to their partner (or the next student if there is more than two in a group) and stands up. They take one of their clue cards and can walk to any other group and trade. They put their card face down and take any of the other group's face down cards. I have a specific procedure for this to minimize arguments and issues:
a) trading round all happens at the same time
b) once you touch a card, that is the card you take
c) you have 15 seconds to trade
During the trade period, writers that had correct answers may trade with ANY other group, whether or not that group got a correct answer.
We do this is 'slow motion' the first couple of times to get used to the movement.
From there the new writer takes over for the group, a new question is posted and the procedure is repeated.
As the game continues, some groups may get close to solving the mystery. If a group thinks they have the correct answer I have them circle their guess, but the game continues without them announcing their accusation. If time runs out, groups circle their accusaton on their answer card.
I generally then give out the homework and announcements, and really build the anticipation of the contents of the confidential envelope.
I also give any correct investigators this certificate with all of their names on it. I generally wait until all classes have played and list all the winners on one certificate. I also post the certificate outside of the classrooms.
As they get used to the game, I change the cards to ones that have a bit more personality - I'll use teachers from the school as suspects, rooms from the school, and school items (staplers, scissors) as weapons. This really gets them even further immersed into the gaming experience.
I love the engagement that this game naturally builds. Students start to develop strategies such as trying to track who might have the cards they need to see, convincing other groups that they want to trade with them, and discussing answers to ensure they can gain new information. The anticipation and excitement builds as more clues get revealed. I've also added variations to this game so that if a group can explain their reasoning they get a 'double trade' (trade two cards instead of one.) You will NEVER see students SO EXCITED to WANT to get called on as when you say "this question can earn a double trade."
I hope some of you try out this game in your room. If you do PLEASE let me know how it goes and what variations you use! I love hearing different 'mods' in the game world!