About as thrilling as teaching commas in grammar I'd imagine.
This year I have taken Michael Matera's writings from Explore Like a Pirate to Gamify my classroom. I have used games in my classroom before, but this is the first time I'm fully integrating gaming into the classroom.
During the week we have been working on factoring monomials. Students did this in small groups, individually, and in whole group games. They included playing Clue, higher/lower, and hot seat.
It culminated with a game of Magic Card. Here is how we played:
All 52 cards of one deck were laid out on a table:
Didn't take pictures, sorry...
From there I explained the rules:
I would post a problem and give 30 seconds to work it. After 30 seconds I will use the random name generator (found here) to pick a name. A new name would be picked every 10 seconds until a correct answer is given.
If you have a correct answer, you can go to the table and pick any playing card.
The more questions you get correct, the more playing cards your team will have at the end of the game.
Once the game is over, I will draw a card from a second deck. That is the magic card.
Here is the scoring for this game:
Really should have taken some pictures. Sorry.
As part of my gamification, students also have game cards available. These are kept in their binder in a plastic card holder. If you are curious, I made these cards on the Magic: The Gathering Cardsmith Website. It is an easy site to navigate and saves up to 1000 cards! Here are a few that were used during this game:
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmit: This card allows you to take a turn when it is someone else's turn. Know the right answer, but were not selected? Play this card! It's your turn now and not theirs!
Twinning: When someone is chosen, you may play this card and get full benefits of being called upon. Have the right answer? You get a playing card! Have the wrong answer? No card and you've used this card's power for the day.
Shield: Use this card when you are targeted. You are protected and are not targeted anymore. Great for countering Twinning and John Jacob.
It was so wonderful watching students collaborate in their teams, hope their name got called, and then strategize when to use cards. One group realized that if a teammate got selected, they should twin their teammate so that they can get double (or triple) cards that round.
I gave multiple bonuses out for good team work, showing good processes, and good sportsmanship. When it was said and done over 2 dozen of the 52 cards had been selected. Later in the year I plan on expanding this part to have them write some probability examples from the game data.
When it was all done, Team Emmy Noether had 9 cards, Johann Kepler had 7 cards, Leonhard Euler had 6 cards, and Brahmagupta had 5 cards (my students are on teams named after mathematicians.) Each team had their own strategies; Emmy went for a good variety of cards while Brahmagupta went for only cards with hearts on them.
Tension built as I was getting ready to reveal the winning card. Of course it didn't happen right away - we had to get our homework copied, get our work in our notebook, and close up a bit...
Then I went to the deck and pulled the 9 of clubs. The girls immediately cheer as they realized they had the winning card and at least 41 points. Brahmagupta's members groaned as they saw they had no clubs and no 9. Zero game points.
Overall this was a crazy loud, fun, and fully engaging way of teaching what is otherwise a rather dull topic. Students were authentically excited to solve for the greatest common factor of monomials. Emmy Noether was also excited because they had fallen to 2nd overall in the team points, but knew today's domination would put them back on top.
Best of all? Students were leaving the classroom saying "Factoring monomials is fun!" Seriously.