Staying Alive



by Ken Colclasure

Ken is an ESL vocational instructor. He is also an avid gardener and sports car enthusiast. He is married and has three step children.

Instructional Objective Players will be able to identify basic automotive shop safety rules.


Learners/Context The students are adults from their twenties to sixties of various nationalities at an ESL level of 3 or above.

The board game would be used an hour each day for the first two or three weeks of class.


Rationale Putting this task of teaching basic shop safety into a board game format will make the job more palatable for the students and staff. In addition, it will add an element of "fun" to the course curriculum.


Rules This is a basic race track design where the competitors follow a serpentine course using a die to move forward to the various spaces. These spaces contain an image depicting the category of safety rules to be learned.

1. By using the image the player goes to the appropriate card stack and reads the top card which asks a question on safety in the categories of Fire, Tools and Equipment, Electrical, Personal, General Shop Safety. The answers to the questions are in the packet of safety rules they receive when they begin class.

2. If the player answers correctly, then he is allowed to move in on the next turn. If the answer is wrong, the player misses a turn.

3. If another player hears a wrong answer on the part of the initial player, then he can answer before the card is turned over. If the second player is correct then he can throw the dice twice.

4. Mixed among the spaces are problems, such as you stepped on oil spilled by another mechanic, you fell and hurt your back, go back three spaces. These are unavoidable set backs.

5. The questions and set backs must be read aloud to all other players. Others can ask for the reader to repeat the question.

6. As cards are used they are to be put at the bottom of the stack to be used again. There are more than enough rules, so there is little chance of repeats.

Design Process I considered games like concentration, a pyramid with cards design, and various versions of the race track before going with this idea. I had decided to use the safety rules idea in the beginning because of the need for a solution to a problem. The difficulty was visualizing a way to fit the problem to a game. I feel there is a more sophisticated or elegant design that would incorporate more motivating factors and a more competitive experience, but I couldn't see it at this point.