Here’s what my sixth graders had to work with:
- Card deck of UNO
- Chess/Checker board
- A Pair of Dice
- 12 Fake Coins
- 20 Minutes
Their task: Redesign the game of UNO into something new (or, hack the game of UNO, as I pitched it) by collectively agreeing in small groups to new rules of the new game and then writing out a draft set of expository instructions. Oh, and prototype the game, if time.
The timer is ticking! Have fun!
They did, and as I watched each small group of students work collaboratively together yesterday, I noticed:
- Speaking and listening skills on full display
- Shared/common language on game design mechanics (Variables, Prototype, Play-testing, etc.)
- Negotiation of ideas through rules of discussion
- Agreement and dissent, ending in resolution
- Expository writing practice
Later, they will formalize the rules of their hacked UNO game and use an instruction manual from Monopoly as a “mentor text” to put it into a common format. Then they will “teach” their game to other students in other groups.
This activity is all part of the introduction to our unit on Game Design, which we have just started in our ELA class, and which will move into designing a science-based video game project. We have a long way to go, but this is always a good start ….
Peace (off the board),