Predator!


by Kelly Robinson

Kelly is a mother of two terrific kidos, one in elementary school and one in preschool. She is a credentialed teacher who is taking time off from teaching to pursue a master's degree in Educational Technology. She is currently employed as a graduate assistant in the Instructional Media Lab on campus.

alright, alright, no jokes about the earrings! :-)

Instructional Objective Learners will have fun "hunting" while learning the food chains of several different regions.


Learners/Context The learners are students who are learning about the different ecosystems and regional food chains in social studies' classes or anyone who wishes to play the game without the instructional objective.


Rationale One knowledge area in the California framework for Social Studies is for students to learn about earth's ecology and how food chains work. Students will learn that there is a delicate balance built-in to the different processes on earth. Knowledge of the food chains will help students understand about endangered species, and what ecological consequences will happen if one species is eliminated from the food chain.

A card game is useful here for several reasons. First, the students can decide how to use the card game. It can be played like War, or it can be played like Concentration. This could increase their motivation for using the game. Second, these game formats, (War and Concentration), are familiar to most students, and since they are familiar with the formats, they can concentrate on the content of the game and not spend time learning how to play the game. Third, by playing the game they will be further reinforcing what they have learned in their social studies unit about food chains. Fourth, children like the fast-paced mode of the game and are motivated by exciting visuals. Predator! offers bright, full-color photos of animals that are interesting to use. , Fifth, Predator! offers a fun way to challenge themselves and others, Lastly, Predator! can be used as instructional punctuation or as a study tool. Hopefully, students will be motivated to discover more about the factual information presented by playing the game. Teachers can build on their interest by assigning a writing or research project about some of the animals and regions.


Rules War format #1

The game is played in the following manner:

1. Each player is given one deck from the same region.

2. The players shuffle their cards and place them face down in one stack in front of them.

3. To play, each player turns the top card of their deck simultaneously. The player who played the predator card wins and takes both cards. The player who played the prey card loses and gives up his card to the winner. If players are unsure about the relationship between cards (animals) they can look to several sources: their social studies book; their teacher; or the corresponding poster which comes with the game. If there is no interaction between the animals, or they play the same card, they should each take back their own card, shuffle it into the deck to be used again later.

4. The object of the game is to win all cards.

War format #2

The game is played in the following manner:

1. Each player is given one deck from the same region.

2. The players shuffle their cards and place them face down in one stack in front of them.

3. To play, each player turns the top card of their deck simultaneously. The player who played the predator card wins and takes both cards. The player who played the prey card loses and gives up his card to the winner. If players are unsure about the relationship between cards (animals) they can look to several sources: their social studies book; their teacher; or the corresponding poster which comes with the game. Play continues until there is no war. (This could be either be by turning up the same animal, or animals in the region that do not interact.)

4. If there is no war, then go to extended war. Here's how: the two cards are placed in the center, and each player plays three cards face down and a fourth face up. The player who plays the predator face-up card wins all the cards in the war, unless the two cards again do not form a war. If this is the case repeat step 4 until there is a winner.

4. The object of the game is to win all cards.

Concentration format #1

The game helps students get to know the different animals in each region and is played in the following manner:

Any number of players up to six can play.

1. Take both decks from one region and shuffle them.

2. Lay the cards out in a grid on the table or the floor so than no two cards touch. ( This game can be played by laying the cards in orderly rows and columns or by using random placement. Random placement is harder to play and should be used after they have gotten used to playing with orderly placement.)

3. The players should go in turn in any order they determine. The first player should turn any two cards face up so that all can see. If the two cars are a pair, s/he removes them and keeps them. If the cards are not a pair, he turns the cards face down, and the turn passes to his left.

4. The player who gathers the most pairs wins. Play continues until: (1) the teacher needs the game to end, or (2) all of the cards have been "won." Either way the cards are counted and the winner has the most cards.

Concentration format #2

The game helps students identify predator/prey relationships in each region and is played in the following manner:

Any number of players up to six can play.

1. Take both decks from one region and shuffle them.

2. Lay the cards out in a grid on the table or the floor so than no two cards touch. ( This game can be played by laying the cards in orderly rows and columns or by using random placement. Random placement is harder to play and should be used after they have gotten used to playing with orderly placement.)

3. The players should go in turn in any order they determine. The first player should turn any two cards face up so that all can see. If the two cars are a predator/prey match, s/he removes them and keeps them. If the cards are not a predator/prey match, s/he turns the cards face down, and the turn passes to the left.

4. The player who gathers the most pairs wins. Play continues until: (1) the teacher needs the game to end, or (2) all of the cards have been "won." Either way the cards are counted and the winner has the most cards.

CHALLENGE! ENRICHMENT!

For extra challenge:

a. Students could look to the poster or their social studies book when they "win" a pair, and find out the name of the next animal (up or down) in the food chain.

b. Students could mix regions of cards for longer and more complex play.


Deck Design Predator! includes four different sets of cards. Each set represents a different ecological region. The number of cards is different in each deck and are determined by the number of representative animals from each region.


Game Design In addition, a full color poster graphically displaying the food chains of each region (using the same photos of the animals that are on the cards) is included for each region.


Card DesignThe Desert Region


Design Process The design was developed with specific learners and instructional problems in mind. It could be adapted to other situations with minor modifications. After creating the prototype for this game, I realized that producing this game would be difficult and expensive without a game company's backing. Maybe some game producer out there is just chomping at the bit for this idea...