Monday, February 10, 2014

let's play!

Last week I was feeling poorly most of the week and missed a couple of days.  The illness couldn't have come at a better time for my College Algebra class, as we were taking a break from the textbook to work on a project. 

The project required students to work in groups to design a board game that was fun, creative, and implemented math.  The project was actually the brainchild of my colleague, Jen Baselice, and I was happy to give it a shot.

Students had about a week to design a game board, create rules, gather or make all pieces, integrate some mathematics, and play the games.  The results were mixed, with some students focused on making sure there was plenty of math, others working hard to create a pleasing design, and a third group determined to implement "fun" features.  

On the final day I had students evaluate their group members as well as the games themselves.  My focus was on the math, but it turns out the students most appreciated good designs, clear instructions, and fun features.

In a couple of games there were humorous thematic cards designed to enhance the fun.  In "Cap'n Jalen's Quest for the Booty," players were asked which food was Jalen's favorite, with correct answers leading to advances.  In "Boo" cards told players they had morphed into a werewolf and could move forward 3 spaces.  And in "Reality Land," two players landing on the same square resulted in an arm-wrestling match for control of the square.

All in all, it was a welcome break from the winter doldrums and still helped students review important math skills.  If you would like a copy of the instructions and grading rubric, please email me at

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