Instructional Objective - The learners will be able to correctly classify contemporary and extinct chordates according to physical characteristics.
Learners/Context - The learners are either high school or college biology students with some prior knowledge of vertebrate characteristics. This game will serve as a practice tool and is designed to be played after an introductory lecture about phylogentic classification.
Rationale A game is an appropriate format for this situation because memorization of this type of material can be boring. A card game is useful in that it makes the material much more interesting and easier to grasp. This kind of game is easily portable and can be played by one or more players just about anywhere.
Competition is the primary motivator used. Since the learners are battling one another to complete the classification hierarchy first, they are inspired to learn the material in order to become more proficient.
The game is played in the following manner: This game is played like solitaire by a single player, or (preferably) as a face to face double solitaire, with two players. The Order cards are placed on top of Genus cards as shown below to produce an Order stack. Order stacks must be placed below the correct Class card. This creates the classification hierarchy. Players must correctly identify which Genus belongs to which Order, and which Orders belong to which Class. This can be done from memory, or by reading the Genus characteristics on the cards and matching with them with correct Order characteristics.
Design Process I started by reading our assigned reading How to design a card game and then consulted a vertebrate anatomy book. The idea is something I came up with a couple of years ago when studying vertebrate classification. I never actually follow through with the idea until now. But it seemed like it would make a good card game.
I tried to make the rules and cards as simple as possible. That's why I went with the simplest of all card games the happy family or snap category.
References - Ellington, H., Addinall, E., & Percival, F. (1982). A handbook of game design. London: Kogan Page.
Last updated by Dave Lewis on September 28, 1995.
Return to the Card Game Table of Contents.
Educational Technology 670, Fall 1995.