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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pretty Painless Gamification

Today I was at a loss for something fun-ish to review circles in Geometry. I hastily searched my Evernote for "review games" and came across this gem from 2009 from Kim. She called it Ghosts in the Graveyard for Halloween, but since it's springtime I went with a garden theme. I modified the activity slightly.

1. Set up a Smartboard file like so, for six groups to play. The ten objects to populate their gardens are infinitely cloned, and the fences are locked in place so they can't be accidentally moved. (This screenshot shows the "gardens" in the middle of a class.)

2. Students in groups of 3-4. I wrote students' initials (in red) next to their garden.
3. Every student gets a copy of ten problems.
4. When all group members understand a problem, they call me over. I randomly choose one student to explain how they did it.
5. If she can explain their process sufficiently, she can go up to the Smartboard and add the corresponding item to their garden. (If not, I just say okay, I'll be back in a couple minutes.)
6. They were instructed to use the review problems to help them study for the quiz tomorrow, so if they didn't get to all the problems in class, it was okay.

Why I liked it:

  • It did not take forever to set up. I used the review questions I was planning on giving them anyway, and just had to whip up a smartboard page which took all of 5 minutes.
  • You wouldn't think that the state of an illustrated garden on a smartboard file would be very motivating, but they all worked diligently for the entire 30-ish minutes we did this. Thanks, Zynga.
  • I heard lots of good discussion as they made sure all of their group members understood a problem before calling me over.
  • Nobody could slack off and nobody got bored.