by Dianne Beltran and Kirk Herrick

Dianne works full time as a computer lab coordinator at Memorial Academy Junior High. Kirk is the Media Technician at Helix High School. Both Dianne and Kirk are graduate students in Educational Technology.


Instructional Objective The learners will be able to identify and sort animals into families according to their characteristics. The learners will be able to determine which animals belong to the Amphibian, Reptile, Mammal, Bird, Fish, and Arachnid family.

Learners/Context The learners are 3rd grade students, or any students who are learning about family classifications of the Animal Kingdom. Distingushing charcteristics would have already been covered in class or by the instructor.

The game is designed to reinforce the understanding of basic facts. The players would have already learned about the characteristics and classifications of Amphibians, Birds, Fish, Mammals, Reptiles, Insects and Arachnids. Animal Rummy calls on the players to use this knowledge to form stratagies and make educated decisions.

Rationale For most, cards games are fun and entertaining to play. Since the students will be playing against each other to aquire their animal sets first, competition plays a factor. This competition will motivate the children to do well and ultimatly win. Animal Rummy reinforces the objectives of the lesson; to be able to identify and classify animals into famillies according to their characteristics.

Rules Two to four people may play at a time. The object of the game is to build a winning combination sequence using all 7 cards in hand. Combination sequences consist of grouping together 3 or 4 cards with like families. For example, a winning hand would be a Rooster, Robin, and Ostrich (Bird family) and a Lizard, Alligator, Newt, and a Salamander (Reptile family).


The game is played in the following manner:



  1. Each player is dealt a hand of seven cards. The remaining cards are placed face down on the table. This is the "Draw" pile. The top card is then turned face up and place alongside. This is the "Discard" pile.


  2. Player to the left of the dealer goes first. The player can either take a card from the Draw pile OR the Discard pile. Then the player must discard a card by placing it face up on the Discard pile. This keeps the number of cards in the players hands at seven.


  3. Play continues in the same manner. The next player then has a choice to take the card that was just discarded or draw a new one from the draw pile. Again, once the player has taken a card, he must discard one as well.


  4. Game continues until someone builds a winning combination sequnece.


Card Design

In the middle of each card is a picture of an animal belonging to one of the following animal families; Amphibian, Bird, Fish, Mammal, Reptiles, Insect and Arachnid. In the upper left hand corner and lower right hand corner are thumbnails of the center graphic. The name of the animal can be found on top of the picture. A distinguishing characteristic is listed on the bottom of the card.

Their are also 7 reference cards included in the deck. Each reference card has a brief list of characteristics common to that particular animal family. These cards have no graphics since they are intended for reference only.

Deck Design

The desk has a total of 77 Cards. Each of the seven animal families have ten cards each. Also included in the deck are 7 reference cards. The card on the left is the top title card that will be found on top of the full deck. The card on the left is the back design for all 77 cards.

Design Process We started by taking out a deck of cards and using them as we talked our way through the game. It was a lot easier to visualize and design using this hands-on method. We also played a simliar animal card game already developed to get some ideas.

Earlier in the design process we had decided to include a points system. The left over cards in the opponients hands were worth a certain ammount of points to the winner. We later discarded this idea because the object of the game is to group and classify the cards, not earn points.

The design of the cards went through revisions. The size of the animal graphic was played with. We wanted it big enough to be easily idenified, yet we needed room to list the name and characteristic. The size of the text was also played with until it was big enough to read.

The reference cards were added at the very end of the design process. They give the players something to refer to when they are presented with an animal and/or characteristic they are unsure of. Each animal family has a card with a list of it's characteristics. Instead of just guessing or discarding the card, the player can refer to these card and make an educated move.

References Ellington, H., Addinall, E.& Percival, F. (1992). A Handbook of Game Design. London: Kogan Page. (Chapter 3: How to design a card game)

Last updated by Dianne Beltran and Kirk Herrick on September 28, 1995.

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Educational Technology 670, Fall 1995.