King of the Jungle

by Melinda McDonald

Melinda is a Documentation Assistant for the San Diego Supercomputer Center working on World Wide Web and an interactive CD-ROM Science Report. She hopes to someday be an educational software designer.

Instructional Objective The learners playing at Level I will be able to determine which animals are mammals, birds, or reptiles. Those learners playing at Level II will be able to identify the continent that corresponds with the animal given its country of origin.


Learners/Context Level I learners include first-third graders (ages 6-8 years) with an interest in learning more about different categories of animals. Level II learners include third-fifth graders (ages 8-10 years) with an interest in animals and world geography. The game is for 2-5 players and can be used in elementary school classes to teach the differences between animals or help link countries with their respective continents using the animals as a cue.


Rationale Every elementary school student is taught the differences between animals. At level I, this card game provides teachers with a fun way to reinforce that learning without the students needing much supervision. This game is particularly suitable for rainy day games while also reinforcing instruction. At level II, this is a fun way to get students to learn their geography. The animals provide an interesting and fun way of looking at geography. They have to match the country of the animal with the continent so they're getting a good lesson in world geography.


Process For level I, the teacher will explain the general differences in animals starting with birds have wings and beaks and mammals have fur or skin and limbs and so on. Students will understand these differences and be able to differentiate between different types of animals based upon their distinctive characteristics. They will know the three main categories of animals: mammals, birds, and reptiles. This topic could be introduced in science classes for elementary schools. The card game serves as a reiteration and practice of what they have already learned.

For level II, the teacher could use this card game in a geography or history class. The teacher would cover the seven continents and where they are located before the game would start. Students should be familiar with country names and have an idea where they are located. Again, the card game serves as a reiteration and practice of what they have already learned.


Rules This game is based on the card game "UNO."

In Level I of this game, the winner plays all of his cards first and calls out "King of the Jungle" when he has one card left. More specifically, the rules are as follows:

1. Choose a dealer. The dealer shuffles the deck of cards and deals each player 8 cards. The dealer places the remaining cards in a pile face down with the top card face up next to the pile. The pile with the card face up is the discard pile.

2. The player to the right of the dealer goes first and play continues counterclockwise.

3. The first player takes his turn. Each player may only put down one card at a time during his turn. This card must be either the same category of animal (i.e. mammal, reptile, or bird) as the card face up on the discard pile, a Wild Jungle card, or a Direction card. This card should also be placed face up on top of the discard pile. If the player does not have one of these cards, he must pick up another card from the deck and the next player takes his turn.

4. The next player tries to play one of his cards. If he cannot, he must choose a card from the deck. Players take turns playing their cards.

5. When one of the players has only one card left, he must call out "King of the Jungle" before anyone else does. If someone else calls "King of the Jungle" before he does, the player must pick up three cards and begin again. The player who discards all of his cards first, wins.

Types of Cards

Normal Animal Cards

Assorted animals easily identified as mammals, birds, or reptiles. They also contain the country or countries where this animal is commonly found.

Wild Jungle Cards

Players may change the category with this card.

Direction Cards

Skip (appies to the next player)

Reverse Direction

Draw 2 cards (applies to the next player)

Draw 5 cards (applies to the next player)

Reference Cards

There is a card for each category listing all of the animals in that category. There are three cards listing animals as birds, mammals, or reptiles. There are seven other cards listing the countries of each continent for use with the geography variation of the game.

Optional Uses Two variations of King of the Jungle are:

1. World Geography!

This is the Level II version of the game that is mentioned above. Instead of using the categories of mammals, reptiles, and birds, players may use the continent of origin for that animal. Each card also contains the country/countries that the animal is most commonly found. Players have to match the country with the appropriate continent. Have a world map nearby for reference. Categories would then include: Austrailia, Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Iceland, Antarctica. Winner calls out "Globe Master" when she only has one card left.

2. More animals!

Categories can also be types of characteristics of animals like: tails, feathers, beaks, four legs, two legs, egg-laying, live births, etc. Be creative and create a card of categories for use with the game but don't forget to create a reference card. Winner calls out "Animals! Animals!"


Card Design The deck includes 20 cards of each kind of animal (3 categories) plus 5 of each kind of Direction cards and 5 Wild Jungle cards. Then there are 10 Reference cards. This makes a total of 95 cards. The deck is not color coded so learners cannot make identifications based upon color.

Back Side Front Side


Design Process This design was fairly simple because "UNO" is a very simple game. The only objects that really had to be on the card were the picture, name, and country of origin of the animal. I put the name of the animal on the card both vertically and horizontally so that the player can hold the cards in his hand and see all of the vertical names at once. Having the name on the cards twice also allows the other players in the circle to better read it when the card is played. Colorful animals and the neat zebra stripe design add to the flavor of the "King of the Jungle" theme.

All of the cards have the same design on the back so that players can't tell what cards the other players have in their hands.

Teachers can use the reference cards as guides to teaching the information before actually having the students play the game. When teaching the differences between the categories of animals like mammals and birds, the teacher can hold up the cards and show the pictures. Students can also use these cards for reference in writing reports on animals or geography.