A Trip to Mexico

By Betty Hennessey, Rita Perry, and Jan Scherer

Number of Players: 2 - 6

Materials Needed: Game titled "A Trip to Mexico" or "El Viaje A Mexico" The game includes a colorful board with six trails representing locations that a traveler might seek in Mexico. One hundred and forty-six color-coded cards (twenty for each location plus twenty obstacle cards and six "Get Out of Jail Free" cards), dice, and six playing pieces are included in the game box.

Learning Objective: The learner will be able to translate twelve phrases from English to Spanish that might be useful to a visitor in Mexico.

Learners/Context: The board game is geared toward adults who need practice in order to remember commonly used phrases for travel in Mexico. The game may be played in class following instruction or as a study tool after class, preferably with Margaritas in hand.

Rationale: Retention of the Spanish language is improved when taught within a functional context. The learners will be motivated to learn by the distinct possibility that the phrases chosen for the game are those they will use when and if they visit a Spanish-speaking country such as Mexico. A game is the appropriate format for this situation because learners are provided with immediate feedback and a chance to review the translations as they work toward the goal.

Rules of the Game:

Method of Play: The game requires approximately one hour to play.

Design Process: The educational aspect of the game was not difficult, since it is directly linked to classwork either in process or review. We originally drew four locations on the board with which the players are familiar, and later added two more locations. We enlarged the scope in order to add interest, to have a more comprehensive representation of common locations, and the chance to have up to six players. The game moves quickly enough to accommodate this number, as each task requires a definitive response. Our first design did not include review. We added a reward element for correct recall by having the player who advances to the goal reiterate a previouly translated phrase.

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