Shark Rummy

by Michael McGrath

Mike is a refugee from network sports. He is back for his second turn at SDSU.

Instructional Objective The learners will be able to differentiate sharks by matching the different anatomical parts to form a complete shark.

Learners/Context The learners are science students in the 7th, 8th, and/or 9th grades who have completed course study on the physical characteristics of sharks.

The card game should be used after the visual presentation and discussion of the unique physical features of individual sharks. The game can be used in or outside the classroom setting for the practice and remediation of the different shark types.

Rationale A card game is used for the following reasons:

* A fun change of pace program differing from the average method of instruction.

* It forces the learners to know each part of a shark individually and not focus on just one physical characteristic.

* The game can be played in or outside the classroom.

* It reinforces classifications.

Rules The game shall proceed under the following conditions:

Number of Players: 2 to 4

Materials needed: Deck of 52 cards

1. The designated dealer shall shuffle the cards in a random fashion. The dealer then will deal 8 cards to each player, starting with the player to the dealer's left. The undealt cards should be placed face down in a stack. The top card in the stack should be turned face up and placed next to the deck.

2. Each player arranges their cards in an attempt to categorize by:

* Type of shark or

* Body parts (Dorsal, Tail, Head, Body).

3. Starting with the player to the dealer's left, each player either picks up the top card from the deck or the face up card next to the deck. The player then discards one card and places it face up on the discard pile so that there are always 8 cards in hand.

4. Play continues until the first player who has Rummy goes out. To go out a player must have 4 of a kind twice. A kind is defined as the four body parts of a particular shark. There is no mixing and matching of shark body parts.

5. A player who has Rummy gets 100 points.

6. The remaining players then show their hands. They group their cards into specific shark types and put them down, face up. Any cards that do not make a full shark are subtracted from their score at a rate of 10 points per card.

7. Play continues until the first player reaches a score of 500 points.

Card Design

Deck Design There are four types of cards in this game. They are the head, dorsal, tail and body of a given shark. Each type has a total of thirteen cards in it. The four types are also color coded: head-blue, dorsal-red, tail-green and body-black.

The four types of cards make up thirteen whole sharks. The sharks covered in this game are:

Great white Dusky

Hammerhead Mako

Leopard Thresher

Whale Bull

Blue Lemon

Sand Tiger


Design Process The first design consideration was what the hell do I design? My partner for the board game suggested a game along the lines of fish identification. From there I evolved the Shark Rummy game. Sharks tend to hold an enticing fear element with people.

The rummy format was chosen because the nature of the material is classification and matching. The thirteen sharks were chosen after looking at fifty different kinds. The choices were made with the following considered:

* Could a student distinguish the different types of sharks if they had studied?

* Would the specific body parts be different enough to avoid total confusion by the players?

* When a player goes out would there be any disagreement about their matching of cards?

I then decided that there would be no names of the sharks on the cards. I did not want the players to just match names and lose the educational content.