by Sandy Rosetta
Sandy is currently a 7th grade language arts and social studies
teacher at Washington Middle School in Vista. She enjoys reading,
cooking and boating.
Instructional Objective The learner shall be able to learn
geographical literacy of the continent of Europe by recalling the
various countries, cities, waterways and landforms in a rummy type of
Learners/Context The learners are students currently in grades
4 through 8 or anyone needing reinforcement of European
This card game would be used after the students have been
introduced to the various geographic components of Europe as a review
for a mastery test or to reinforce recall of these components in the
learner. Several sets of the card game would be available for
students to use in the classroom for practice and/or remediation
purposes. It is intended to be used by one or many small groups.
Rationale The material to be learned is structurally an easy
one to master as it entails classifying. There are four major
categories (shown below in bold type) that the students should
identify to master geographic literacy. They are given below with an
example of each:
Waterway: Rhine River*
Landform: Bavarian Alps
*If a waterway runs through more than one country, that card will
be repeated and can be used for any of the countries that contain
A card game is useful for this type of instruction for several
reasons. The amount of material to be learned is exact and
well-defined, the terms of geographic literacy are easy to classify
into a card game, and having a card game introduces a unique way of
learning this material.
Rules The game is played in the following manner:
- Take either the 64 cards for Western Europe or the 52 cards
for Eastern Europe and shuffle the cards well. When the students
feel comfortable with both Western and Eastern Europe, the two
sets should be combined. Play for all sets of cards is the same.
Deal seven cards to each of the two to six players one at a time.
(If using sets with an entire classroom, the teacher should divide
his/her class as evenly as possible.) One player will be the
dealer and one will be the scorekeeper. Place the next card
face-up on the table. This becomes the face-up pile. To the right
of this card, place the remainder of the cards face down. This
becomes the draw stack.
- The player on the dealer's left begins play. S(he) may either
pick up the card lying face up or take the top card from the
stack. S(he) may choose to keep this card in his/her hand or
return it to the face-up pile on the table. If one of the new
cards is taken, one must be discarded in its place. Play continues
around the circle.
- As the discard stack continues to grow, any player on his/her
turn may pick up some or all of the face-up pile, and a card from
the hand must be discarded. The player runs the risk of not being
the first to use all his cards, but it may serve him/her well in
the second phase of the game.
- When one player has formed a country, i.e has gathered the
four cards that make up one country's set, any combination of four
of one kind of category and three of another, or seven of the same
category, s(he) puts down his/her cards face up. This player earns
50 points. The other players do not put down their hands.
- The player on the "winner's" left continues to play as many of
his cards on the cards of the "winner", trying to build as many
countries as possible. Each card the player plays earns that
player 5 points.
When a country is built by one person, that person also earns 10
more points for a total of 30. If, however, the team of players
builds a country, every player earns 20 points in addition to the
points already received for the cards played. When a player can no
longer use the cards in his hand to build a country, that player
must draw from the drawing pile and the next player takes a turn.
Play continues until all the countries have been built or until
one person earns 250 points.
- The player with 250 points becomes the team champion. If no
player has earned 250 points by the time all the countries are
built, then the player with the highest score becomes the team
- When all teams have completed their games, or at another time,
the team champions will compete for the title of EuroRummy
Champion. Certificates will be awarded.
Variation Another way to use these cards is a "war type"
game called, Battle for the Border.
1. Two players divide the stack in the normal way with one dealing
to the other and then him/herself one at a time.
2. Each player places all their cards in a pile in front of them
face down. At the same time, each picks up the top card and shows
3. If the cards are from the same country or ones that border one
another, the player with the higher-valued card takes both cards and
places them off the playing area. Card values are as follows:
Country = 10
City = 8
Waterway = 6
Landform = 5
4. If both cards have the same value, the cards are placed on the
table and another pair of cards is drawn. If the cards are from the
same country or ones that border each other and one card has a higher
value, that player gets all four cards. If the cards do not "match",
the cards are placed on the playing surface with the first two, and
play continues until the cards match. At that point, the player
holding the higher-valued card gets all cards on the playing
5. Play continues in this manner until all cards have been played
or until no matches can be found in the remaining stack. The player
with the most cards wins.
Deck Design One type of card is used in the deck. The
information on the card makes them unique. The deck consists of 116
cards divided into two sections initially. 64 of the cards deal with
information about the countries of the Western part of Europe. 52 of
the cards deal withinformation about the Eastern part of Europe.
All 116 cards are divided into one of four categories as
1. I am a country.
2. I am a city.
3. I am a waterway.
4. I am a landform.
Every card also has two other clues that are designed to help the
students determine which country of Europe the card represents.
Design Process The first design consideration included all
seven continents. While the four categories of country, city,
waterway and landform lended itself to a rummy-type game, the
logistics was impossible. One problem with this was that the game
needed over 700 cards. Also, no two continents have the same number
of countries so determining the exact number was difficult. Then, the
outline of the correct continent to help students ascertain
correctness, was on each card. This meant that the students didn't
have to think or discover, but merely match things together. The
solution was to narrow the content of the game. Instead of one rummy
game, each continent, except Antarctica, has its own game. Each one
will be appropriately named. This limits the number of cards and
focuses the learning content. My students who field tested this game
felt more comfortable after the changes were made.
Another hurdle to overcome is the number of cards that the game
still requires. For EuroRummy and AfricanRummy, it
seems appropriate to keep the cards in two decks. For
EuroRummy, there are 64 cards that deal with Western Europe
and 52 cards that deal with Eastern Europe. In AfricanRummy it
is divided into north and south.
Yet another problem to overcome was addressing the issue of how a
student would know whether he/she was correct in the building of a
country or making a set without resorting to a separate answer key.
Although an answer key is provided, it is more for the teacher than
the students. To keep this instructional, students are encouraged to
use an atlas to determine the correct answers. If no one can find the
correct answer or if the teacher is using this for remediation, the
teacher or a designated student may allow the students to use the