Friday, July 19, 2013

Personal Goals Honor Roll

I've been thinking about students taking more initiative when it comes to their learning.  One thing that comes to mind is the honor roll system.  Students make this list based on criteria that someone else sets. What if we were to create a honor roll based on criteria that the students set individually?  Would they feel more ownership?

I like to call it the IG honor roll.  "Individual Goals" honor roll.  It could be based on grades, attendance, or anything measurable and academic.

This is still a messy little thought bouncing around in my head and sometimes it helps to write it all out.
Pardon me while I think aloud:

During the first few days of school I hand out some type of form for students to write their realistic goals for the first quarter.  Maybe they should get two copies of the forms: one to keep and one for me.  At the end of the quarter I will check to see which students achieved their goals and reward them in a manner similar to the traditional honor roll.

I wonder if my principal would be on board with this.  Could I get the names of those students in the newspaper?  What about listing that honor on their report card?  I definitely need a bumper sticker.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Domain Rangers

Alright, here it goes.  I would like to share what I have so far for the game Domain Rangers.  I would love to have you download the graphs, but that's just not possible yet, because our scanner is down and the graphs are drawn by hand.  Sorry.  Stayed tuned for that update.

Here are the graphs:


Anyway you would print four sets the graphs below, cut them out, and tape them to color index cards.  You could just print them out on color paper, but I like the stability of index cards.

You could just make you own graphs in the mean time, however to keep things balanced, you will need to make sure the numbers in your domain and range are used equally.  My graphs are drawn between -6 and 6 inclusive.

Next, you will need the number cards.  I may have gone a little overboard, but I made 13 sets of the number -6 to 6.  I think 7 sets would be enough.  Mixed in with your number cards you will need about 4-5 cards that say Shield.  

Here's a picture.  You get the idea.

Finally, you need to create your weapon.

I printed these back to back (one for each player).  Once the students are okay with up, down, left, and right; they can flip it over and start using domain and range.

The Story:

A long time ago in a land far away there were three brothers and one sister who each inherited a large piece of land due to their father's untimely death.  All four children married and lived happily for a long time.  However, the sister was unable to have children, became jealous of her brothers, and lost her mind with rage.  The sister and her husband began to create a devious plot of revenge for her siblings' happiness.  Together they made plans to take over the land of the other three, but knew they could never defeat them as they would defend each other.  
They began by telling the eldest brother that the youngest brother planned to attack his country because he was always favored by their parents.  To the youngest brother they lied and spun a dark tale of how the oldest brother murdered their father.  The remaining brother had the most beautiful wife, so the sister and her husband told a story of how the beautiful wife committed adultery with the other brothers. 
With the three brothers at war with each other the sister and her husband believe it will be easy to take over the other countries.  But will it be that easy?  Will her lies prevail and make her queen?  Will one of the brothers prove victorious and become king over all the land?  Only time will tell.

Set up for a 4-player game:

The graph cards:  Each card is a city.  The graph is the formation of the army that defends the city.  

The weapon:  The country has a weapon that will fire its ammunition in the shape of a rectangle. 

Load the weapon:  Use the number cards to load the weapon.  The weapon must be loaded precisely to fire at a city.   For example, suppose you want to attack this city:

You would need to load your weapon like this if you are a beginner:

Or like this if you are little more advanced:

Give each player 25-city cards all of the same color, one weapon, and a piece of scrap paper.  Deal 7 number cards to each player, place the remaining number cards in the middle and place the top number card face up next to the pile.  Each player will pick any 9 of their cities and place them in a 3x3 array, the remaining cards will sit in a pile near the player until later.  The capital is the far corner city for each player.  Each group will need about 10 items to use as a shield (I used black buttons).

All players will want to take some time to develop a strategy.  A county can attack another country's city only if he has a city adjacent to it (no diagonal attacks).  At first there are 6 cities that each person could potentially attack (the 3 cities of the person sitting next to him and the 3 cities of the person sitting across from him).  Each player may take notes as to which numbers they will need to load into their weapon to take a city.  I found it helpful to focus on no more than 4 cities at a time, it was too overwhelming for me otherwise.  

Play begins with the person whose birthday is the closest.  

The player takes either one number card from the pile or the top number card on the discard pile. 

If he has the four cards he needs to load his weapon then he places them on the correct place and says "fire".   If he is correct, the city is removed and replaced with one of his own.   Those four number cards in his weapon are placed on the discard pile.  The player picks up 4 more cards and discards one (he should now have7 cards in his hand again) .  Play continues clockwise. 

If a player places 4 number cards in the weapon but is incorrect, he places the 4 number cards back in his hand and the city remains.  

If a player cannot load the weapon, he will pick one card to discard and play continues clockwise.  

Shield cards:  If a player has a shield card he can use it one of two ways.  First, he can use it to shield any city of his by placing a button on that city.  In order for that city to be captured another city would have to hit it twice (once to remove the shield and again to take over the city).  The shield card can also be used to remove shield from cities.  To use a shield card, the player must use it as his discard.  The next player may not pick it up.  

Winning the game.  Once a country has captured another country's capital the game has ended.  

I feel like I forgot to mention something here.  Feel free to make suggestion in the comments below.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Edugaming 2013 Days 3 and 4 - Game Creation and Play Testing

So, I feel that I have a good start to my game:  Domain Rangers.

I don't have everything nice and pretty yet, so I will share all of that in another post.  This game will reinforce the topic of, you guessed it, Domain and Range given a graph.  My intention is for Algebra 1 students to play this game since this topic is listed for Algebra 1 in our state tests.

The past two days at the workshop were spent creating and play testing the games.  This takes time, especially when you need to create 25 different graphs that have numbers in the domain and range that are all used equally, make four sets of them (one for each county), the number cards (about 200 of those), and then of course the most important part, the rules of play.

I did have the opportunity to have some math teachers play test my game and I am excited.  We had a lot of great ideas and the social part wasn't too bad either.  Then I came home and asked my husband to give it a try.  My husband is not a math teacher or involved in anything Algebra-like.  But he got this game.  He even won.  I can't wait to hash out all the details and share it with you.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Edugaming 2013 Day 2 - Getting to Know You

Today at the workshop we got some hands-on time.  There is one activity that I would like to share with you.

We were put into groups of 4 or 5 and given the following challenge:
Create a game that allows you to learn 3 things about each person in your group.
You must use at least 2 items from the junk box (contains pawns, dice, paper, etc)
It cannot be a memorization game.

Here's what my group developed.

4 index cards (or small pieces of paper) for each member of the group.
1 bowl
positive game pieces (like green buttons).  You will need (number of players) x (3) green buttons.
negative game pieces (like red buttons)

Set up:
Each member of the group secretly writes one sentence on each index card.  On 3 of the index cards, the player must write a fact.  On the last index card, the player must write something that is not true.  For example I might write the following sentences.

My first job was at McDonald's. (fact)
I have a reoccurring dream that my teeth fall out. (fact)
I am addicted to the app plants vs. zombies. (fact)
I met Billy Crystal at a baseball game.  (lie)

All players fold their index cards into fourths and place them in the bowl.  Mix those cards!!

In the middle of the table place the green and red buttons.

The person whose birthday is closest goes first.

The player picks a card out of the bowl, reads the sentence aloud, and then guesses who wrote it.  If he is correct, he takes a green button and places the card to the side.  If he is wrong, he folds the card back up, puts it back in the bowl, and takes a red button.  His turn is over.  If the player happens to pick one of his own cards, he would just put it back and pick another.  Play continues clockwise.

Game End:
The game ends once all the green buttons are gone.  This means that all the fact cards have been determined.

Each green button is worth 1 point, each red button is worth -1 points.  Add all points together, the player with the highest score wins!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Edugaming 2013 Day 1

I'm attending the edugaming workshop once again at our local community college.  LOVE IT (said in a sing-song voice)!!  
Today our main speaker/collaborator was Curtis Murphy.  Check out some of his work here.
Here are a few did-bits for you:

"yes, but" vs. "yes, and"

Allow me to walk you through a situation.  Close you eyes and image this.  Just kidding, open your eyes and read.  You are in the process of creating a lesson plan.  You show it to a colleague for his feedback and here are two possible responses that you receive:

  • "I like what you're doing here, but I think it would be more effective if your closing activity were rewritten so that blah, blah, blah, blah.  
  • "I like what you're doing here, and I wonder if it would be more effective if your closing activity were rewritten so that blah, blah, blah, blah.  
See the difference?  I think I would be more defensive of my work if someone responded like the first bullet.  One of my fellow workshop cohorts summarized it this way.  "When you say 'yes, but' you are judging, when you say 'yes, and' you make yourself a collaborator."  

Elements of Game Design


You know Flow.  It's where you are totally immersed in something so that nothing else exists. I see it in my son ALL. THE. TIME.  He's playing a video game and I call his name.  Nothing.  I call his name again.  Nothing.  I mention that the house is on fire.  Nothing.  He is so involved in the game that I don't exist anymore.  

This is where we want our students, so immersed in our class that the outside world doesn't exist anymore.  Curtis was kind enough to give us a recipe for flow:

1) Clear Tasks

2) Feedback

3) No Distractions (That means you)

4) Just Right Challenge


1) Core - I love the quote he gave us for this.  This is terrible but I didn't write down who said the quote.  Sorry ;(
"Your garden is not complete until there is nothing else to remove".  

2) Limited Choice - Give choices but not too many or you will overwhelm your students.

3) Intuitive - your game should be intuitive.

4) Player's Perspective - try to envision yourself as the player.  


Intrinsic is greater than Extrinsic

Extrinsic replaces Intrinsic, so at all costs, do not use extrinsic


1) Pose a Question or a Challenge

2) Allow Struggle

3) Conclusion

Other Stuff

Our workshop coordinators gave us a small homework assignment:  to pick 2-3 topics that our students struggle with.  I'm thinking about working on Domain and Range.  However if that falls through, I'm not sure.  

My thoughts so far....

There is this country called "something catchy" that is in the shape of a square, has 24 cities, a capital city, and is surrounded on all four sides by 4 other square countries.  The 4 outside countries are all at war with Something Catchy and are trying to take it over by capturing the capital city, which is directly in the center of the country.  

Each city in Something Catchy has a formation of soldiers trying to protect that particular city.  The cities look like 10x10 coordinate grids with a lineup of an army.  Perhaps they are in formation like a circle, or a line segment, or some curve (nothing that goes off the 10x10 grid because I don't know how to handle that with the weapon described below).  

The 4 other countries have this weapon that can shoot in an area of a rectangle.  When they shoot their weapon it must cover an area in the city so that every soldier in that formation is hit, but not extra wasted space.  

For this city I would need to set my weapon to -4 < x < 8 and 2 < y < 6 in order to capture this city.

It would fire it's ammunition like this and take out all the soldiers with nothing extra wasted.

I haven't figured it all out yet, but I will let you know when I do.  I'm thinking about calling it "Domain Rangers".  I still need to think of something catchy to call my country.  Any ideas.

P.S.  I started reading Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.  Loving it so far.  

What I Learned from my High School Social Studies Teacher

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