Murray Manor Elementary in La Mesa, California
Instructional Objective The learners shall be able to correctly build new words by adding a prefix and/or suffix to existing base words.
Learners/Context The learners are students currently enrolled at Murray Manor Elementary School. They are 4th and 5th graders, heterogeneously placed whose abilities range from below grade level standards to far above the fourth/fifth grade level standards. Learners must already have been introduced to and have an understanding of prefixes, suffixes and base words (the word whose meaning will change with the addition of a prefix or suffix).
Rationale There is a plethora of skills students must develop during their elementary years. One of the less exciting skills is learning the myriad prefixes and suffixes that exist in our language, their meanings, and how they combine with base words to generate new meaning. The element of "fun" comes to mind. Students enjoy having fun and experiencing success. The acquisition of this skill can be turned into an experience where there is a successful marriage of learning and fun.
A card game is useful for these purposes for several reasons. Students enjoy gaming. This will provide the fun part of the learning and it has been this teacher's experience that students enjoy nontraditional and/or unconventional teaching and learning strategies. Students tend to retain the information they gather from these less-traditional methods. This game also appears to be the next logical step after having played a game such as Prefix-Suffix Concentration in which students simply match prefixes or suffixes with their appropriate meaning (definition). This card game requires that students apply what they have learned to create new words and assign/understand the new meaning.
Rules Ages: 8-11
This is a game for two, three, or four players. There are 54 cards: 2 wild cards, each worth zero, and 52 prefix/suffix and base word cards worth different point values.
How to play:
1. First choose a dealer. The dealer shuffles the deck of cards, then deals nine cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down in the center of the playing area to form the draw pile. The top card of the draw pile is turned face up and placed next to the draw pile to form the discard pile.
2. Beginning with the player to the dealer's left, play moves clockwise around the table.
3. Each player in turn takes the top card from the draw pile OR from the discard pile, not both. If the player can form one or more words, the words are laid on the table in front of that player. Words must have a base word+prefix or suffix or both. (dis+respect) (respect+ful) (dis+respect+ful)
4. The player also may play on his/her words already on the table or may play a card on another player's word. The new word is then placed in front of the player who last modified it.
5. A player must conclude the turn by laying one card on the discard pile.
6. The game ends when one player plays all his/her cards, including a final discard.
7. Any player may challenge another player's word. If the word is in the dictionary and conforms to the rules, the challenging player looses a turn. If the word is illegal, the player who formed the word loses a turn.
8. Scores are calculated at the end of the game. The total point values of the words in front of each player are added, along with any bonuses. Point values of the cards remaining in a player's hand are subtracted from the total. Each word which consists of a root word plus two more word parts i.e.: a prefix AND a suffix earns a 5-point bonus. The person with the highest point total wins
Design Process The design has some serious considerations before it is put into print. For instance, it has been noted that players could potentially combine a prefix and a base word which would ultimately produce a viable word, however the word may not use the prefix as such. A compound word may be the result - such as in the case of postcard which is a combination of the prefix "post" and the base word, "card". The result is, indeed a word however "post" is used in an entirely different sense.
It may be also noted that many of the "legal" words may not appear in a dictionary simply because there is no space for a dictionary to include all possible permutations of a given word. These concerns are under current consideration.