Achiever's Game


by George Muñoz

Current job is as a Computer Technology Teacher at O'Farrell Community School for Advanced Academic Studies.


Instructional Objective The learners shall be able to research, develop and use a card game to practice classifying attributes and reinforce factual information about famous achievers in history.

Learners/Context The learners are students currently enrolled at O'Farrell Community School. They are 7th and 8th graders, newly placed into the Achievers educational family. The school's curriculum has been developed by the teachers to empower the students to enroll in high school Advanced Placement classes.

Rationale One of the skills that the teachers' described as important was for the students to develop research skills. They need to know how to use a variety of resources in the classroom and library such as on-line databases, card catalogs, Catalog Plus (computerized), librarians, and other reference materials. During the school year they will have a variety of projects that require the use of these resources. The family also wanted role models for the students to be aware of. This is to reinforce team building and to provide a connection to their new family name. To do this, each class group is to come up with a name of a famous achiever to represent them.


A card game is useful for these proposals for several reasons. First, the students can develop the card game themselves. This will provide a team building activity by making each student responsible for one part of the game. Second, they will have a structure to begin learning how to access the reference materials available on site. Third, they will gain knowledge of the famous people that they research. Lastly, they will be learning the attributes and classification skills while playing the card game with others. Hopefully, the students will be further motivated to discover the factual information because they have been a part of the process in making the game.

Process The first step in the activity is the formation of the cards. The students will be introduced to the activity in their social studies class. The teacher will describe the definitions of what is meant by famous achievers and will give examples. The students, as a part of their social studies class will go to the library to do the research. Later, they will go to their computer class to input the information into a HyperCard template of the card deck.


The second stage of the activity is to use the cards to practice classifying the factual data about famous "achievers" in history. They will be doing this in groups in their social studies classes. The teacher will explain and demonstrate the rules. There will also be a time provided at the end of each of these "play" sessions for the students to give feedback about the exercise and the process of development.

Rules The game is played in the following manner:


1. First choose a dealer. The dealer shuffles the deck of cards and then deals five cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down for drawing during play. One card is turned over to form the discard pile.


2. The players read their cards to find attributes about each of their "achievers". After reading the attributes on the cards, they are to try to match one of these attributes with ones on their other cards. The first player to the left of the dealer is to begin play.


3. If the first player finds three cards that match, the three cards are removed and placed on the table. The player must then tell the other players what the matching attribute is. If the player can find more matches, he/she may place them on the table and again tell what the matching attribute is. (See Step #7 for disagreements).


4. If the player can not find any matches then she/he may pick up the top card from the discard pile. If the player can match three cards, the three cards are removed and again placed on the table with a description of the matching attribute. If the others agree with the matching attribute, the player may again pick up the top card from the discard pile. Play continues until the player cannot make a three card match.


5. The player will next take a card from the drawing pile. If the player can make any matches, he/she places them on the table. If the player cannot make any matches, she/he is done and the player on the left continues play (go back to Step #1).


6. The play continues until one of the players runs out of cards. The winner is the player that has the most groups of three.


7. If the other players do not agree with the stated attributes in a three card match, then the player must pick up the cards and play continues to the next player. If an agreement can not be reached, the teacher is called as a judge to make the decision.


8. In the unusual case where no matches can be found then the players turn in their cards to the next dealer and start over (Step #1).


Optional Uses The game cards can also be used in other ways for instruction.


1. The teacher or librarian could give each student or team of students a card to use as a starting point for library research.


2. The cards could also be used as a concentration/matching activity. Cards placed face down. Students take turns picking two cards. If they have matching attributes the players keep them in a pile. Most matches wins.


3. The cards could be used by the teacher for a Jeopardy/team competition. The teacher would read attributes until a team "chimed in" with a guess. Points could be awarded for correct answers and taken away for incorrect ones.

Card Design

Design Process The design was developed with specific learners and instructional problems in mind. It could be adapted to other situations with minor modifications. It is hoped that the deck can be developed in HyperCard and placed onto a disk for CUE Soft swap so that others can enlarge and utilize the information. It could also be used as a reference database form on the computer with some modification.