When he isn't working on class assignments or making flyers for SAGE, Stuart enjoys walking and going to movies.
Instructional Objective The learner with be able to match the state's name to its picture and its picture to its name.
Learners/Context This game is designed to be used in 4th or 5th grade classrooms following geography lessons on the United States. It would be used in small groups as a form of practice.
Rationale This content can be very boring to learn in a rote manner. The game forces the students to connect the name of a state with its picture in order to score points. This process will help reinforce the learning that had all ready taken place as well as give the students another reason to learn the material.
Rules The object of the game is to make as many matches as you can.
Basic Rules 1. Shuffle the cards well. Have one person deal out all the cards.
2. The player on the dealer's right puts one card down in the center of the table. It may be a picture card or a name card.
3. Continuing to the right, the next player tries to match the card. If a picture card was put down, they match it with the name card for that state. If the player doesn't have a matching name card, the turn continues around the group to the right until a match is made. The player that makes the match takes both cards and sets them in his/her match pile.
4. The player that made the match now places a card from her/his hand in the center of the table to begin the next round.
5. Once all the cards have been played, each player counts up the number of matches they have in their pile. All of the scores are recorded on the tally sheet (running scores). If the players wish, play may continue by re-shuffling the cards and dealing them out again.
More Advanced Rules Once the players are familiar with all of the states in the deck, you can pick up the pace of the game by changing the rules a little.
Variation # 1 Rather than going around the circle one by one to find a match, any player in the group that has a matching card may place it down. The first player to make the match takes the cards (somewhat like UNO).
Variation # 2 Adjacent states may be placed down to make a match. For example, if the picture card for California is in the center of the table, players may use name cards for Oregon, Nevada or Arizona to make a match. To avoid incorrect associations (a picture of California associated with the wrong name), when playing an adjacent state card the player must yell "Neighbor." If the player fails to yell "Neighbor", that match does not count.
Settling Disputes As with any game, disputes are bound to occur. If no players knows the name of a state or in the event of a dispute about the name of a state, the students are encouraged to consult an atlas.
Deck Design Rather than having one deck for all fifty states, instead there is a different deck for each part of the country. In this example, I have used 7 western states - California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. The deck consists of four (4) cards for each state, two picture cards and two name cards. This was done so that more than one person may have a match. In this example there would be 28 cards.
Design Process Once the instructional problem was determined, the design process went very smoothly. At first I considered using all 50 states for the game. After thinking about it for a couple of minutes, I realized that meant there would have to be a minimum of 100 cards in the deck (one picture card and one name card). So quickly I decided we'd have to break the country into smaller sections. It seemed convenient to divide the country roughly by time zones.
The next decision to be made was what should be on the cards. A fellow student suggested that I include a picture of the whole area of the country being covered, because many states are very hard to identify by shape alone. So I included a map of each region with the state filled in gray. This led to another problem. With such a large picture of the region, you couldn't see it while holding a hand full of cards. To solve this problem, I included a small picture of the state in the upper left corner of the picture cards. The name cards presented a similar problem, which was solved by putting the state's two letter abbreviation in the corners of the card.
I wanted to have more than one level of difficulty for the game. So I came up with three different versions: a very simple slow version, so students could play the game while they were just beginning to learn the states, and two more challenging versions for students who had more of the states memorized.
Overall, I am happy with the way the game turned out. I wish I had the chance to test it with some kids, but time did not allow.