Visual A"peel"


by Tamara Scott

Instructional The learners will be able to choose the two dimensional shapes

Objective required to create the surfaces of three dimensional geometric figures.


Learners/Context The target learners are third and fourth grade students who have received instruction on two dimensional shapes, three dimensional shapes, and shape surface construction.

This card game is designed for classroom teachers to utilize as an extension to their math and science curricula. Unless they are currently covering this content, teachers should review the basic concepts of three dimensional shapes and surface construction prior to using this game.


Rationale Playing Visual A"peel" is an excellent way reinforce to visual/spatial thinking skills and the concept of surfaces. It requires players to recreate geometric shapes in their minds and critically think about the make up of those shapes surfaces or "peels". In addition, this game is fun, the rules are similar to other games students have played, and flexible building blocks are provided with the game to solve disputes!

The following reasons support the use of a card game for this subject matter:

* The content matches well with the poker/rummy class of games. (Players collect cards with a particular relationships.)

* The poker/rummy class is appropriate for children.

* Game playing is a fun way to strengthen skills and improve content mastery.


Rules Visual A"peel" is played with 2-4 players. Read the following directions to learn to play:

1. Choose a dealer and have her lay out the green shape cards face up in the center of the table so that all of the cards are visible. These are all of the possible shapes players can collect surfaces for in the game.

2. Have the dealer shuffle the deck of blue cards and then deal seven blue cards to each player.

3. Place the remaining blue cards face down in the center of the play area. Turn over the top card and place it face up next the pile. This will be the discard pile.

4. Pick up your cards. Choose the three dimensional shape, on the green cards, for which you will collect the surfaces or sides. Arrange the cards in your hand in those groups.

5. The object of the game is to collect the sides needed to create the surfaces of the shapes on the green cards. For example, if you were collecting the sides of a cube you would collect and group six square side cards. You can collect the sides of more than one shape at a time if you choose!

6. Once you have collected the sides of a shape, you may play them on your turn only. To play them you must show the other players what shape the sides create, show the sides to the other players, and then place the sides in a stack in front of you.

7. There are five wild cards. A wild card may be used as any shaped side you choose! You must tell what shape you are using the wild card represents when you play a finished stack of sides, as in direction 6.

8. If, when another player plays their stack of sides, you believe that she has made a mistake, you may challenge that player. If the player you challenged did make a mistake, she must put the stack back in her hand, draw two cards, and, without discarding, move on to the next players turn . If you are incorrect in your challenge, you must draw two cards and then allow the player you challenged to continue with her turn.

9. Play begins with the player to the right of the dealer. She may choose to take the card on the top of the discard pile or draw a card. If she does not want the card on top the discard pile, another player may take it, but the other player must also draw a card as a penalty. Once the original player has taken her card, she may play a stack of sides, as in direction 6. The player ends her turn by placing a card from her hand in the discard pile. The next player then takes a turn.

10. On your turn, you may take a wild card out of a stack of sides that has already been played by you or any other player. You must replace the wild card with the shape card it represents in that stack. You must be able to immediately play the wild card you took in a completed stack of sides. If you can't play the wild card right away, you can't take it!

11. The game ends when a player plays all of her cards and wins or the time for the game runs out. If time runs out, add up the points on the cards in your hand. Subtract ten points for every stack of sides you successfully played in front of you during the game. The player with the LEAST number of points wins!

12. Solve challenges by building the chosen shape with the red flexible building blocks included with the game. Compare the number of the sides and the shape of sides that make up the red shape you built with the challenged group of blue cards. Who is correct, the player or the challenger?

Optional Uses You can also keep score of a series of Visual A "peel" games. Who had the least number of points after three games? four games?


Card Design The following materials are included in Visual A"peel" card game:

* 8 green three dimensional shape cards.

* 96 blue two dimensional surface or side shape cards (including 32 square cards worth 2 points each, 26 rectangle cards worth 4 points each, 6 trapezoid cards worth 10 points each, 6 wild cards worth 20 points each, 6 circle cards worth 10 points each, and 22 triangle cards worth 6 points each).

* 30 flat red flexible building blocks (flexible foam covered with red fabric; 6 in each of the shapes represented on the two dimensional surface cards).

Three dimensional shape card examples.

Two dimensional surface or side card examples.


Design Process Visual A"peel" was designed for Project VISTA, (Visual Spatial Thinking Activities). Project VISTA is funded by the National Science Foundation. It's purpose is to develop activities which promote kindergarten through eighth grade science students visual/spatial thinking skills.

The idea for this game came to me in a dream. Before going to bed I was thinking about the connection between understanding the concept of surfaces and the ability to construct mental images in your mind. In my dream kids were playing a game that involved building giant floating structures with geometric shapes. When I awoke, I thought, "Wow, that idea could be adapted into a card game!" Of course the shapes in the card game could not be giant or floating, and the type of structures had to be limited, but the general concept fit well into the poker/rummy card game format.

In addition to many minor changes, two major modifications occurred in the development of the game. I knew from the start that I wanted the players to be able to solve their own disputes and challenges. Wooden blocks were the first manipulatives I considered, but it is extremely difficult to bend a wooden rectangle to make a cylinder. Flat foam blocks provided a solution to the flexibility problem, not to mention being fun to squish! The second modification was a slashing of the rules. The original version of the game included additional rules for playing cards on previously played stacks of side cards. Later, I determined that the benefits of these rules did not out weigh their length and complexity, by by rules!

I designed this game to allow kids to think critically about two dimensional and three dimensional shapes without having to worry about remembering the names of the shapes. I plan to expand this idea to include a series of activities in which kids design and create actual structures, buildings, and even cities!