Name … or Draw!

Today’s class was pretty fun. I had foolishly promised a naming game, with chocolate prizes, to wrap up the nomenclature unit. So this morning I had to generate one.

The game I made up had 26 questions – six each worth 1, 2, 3, or 4 points plus 2 tiebreakers. This was way more than plenty for the 50-minute class slot. Before class I wrote these out on index cards and taped them to the white-board in columns of ascending point value, like Jeopardy, but with no categories or column themes.

The students (about 36 of the 40 enrolled showed up today) formed themselves into teams of 3 or 4. Each team picked a card, from any column, but could only pick if there was an open space above. They then chose whether to name based on a structure, or draw a structure based on the given name. I put the corresponding clue on the board and allowed 1 minute per point. As it turned out, that was too long, 1/2 minute per point would have put more pressure on and let us get in more rounds.

After a team finished, the next team in the rotation got to either accept, and try a new question, or challenge. If a team challenged and fixed a mistake, they could steal the points and then go on for a new question. But if they either challenged a correct answer, or incorrectly answered the challenged question, they’d forfeit their turn.

Final scores ranged from 0 to 6 points. As it turns out, both of the tied-for-first teams had a successful challenge followed by a successful question. So challenges turned out to be more significant than I expected. Playing behind a weak team was clearly an advantage.

It was quite a bit of fun and engaging to the students. They were almost all working on the answers, even if their team wasn’t up for the challenge slot. I think they probably learned as much as if they’d had to take an announced quiz, and with a lot less anxiety.

Maybe if I can get good at web programming it will be on-line some day.


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