Apollo Card Game

A Card Game for Chris, Tyler and Peter, and all the Apollo lovers.

By Maria Rodriguez, student in SDSU's Educational Technology Department.

Instructional Objectives

The learners will be able to identify the main events about Space Exploration and match them with facts related to their families' histories. In the affective domain, the students will enjoy learning about family facts, while making their own card game.


The learners are students from Grades 2 to 7. The game is designed to be developed at home and in class, to be played anywhere.

Previous research will be necessary before class, to gather information about the students' families.

This card game will give the students the opportunity to group in chronological order historical events about Space Exploration and their own families' histories, visualizing the relation between space and time.

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A card game is an appropriate format for this situation because it provides a visual interface for a primarily visual educational task.
This card game is also:

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Game Preparation

A week before playing the game, the teacher will give each student 8 index cards of the same color for each student.

Each card will have a year written on top of it (from 1968 to 1975), and a square where each student will make a drawing or add a picture. With their families, the students will complete the cards, writing a short sentence about a main family event that occured in that particular year, and ilustrate it.

Before playing the game, the teacher should check the student's cards. They should be easy to read and understand for all the students.

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Two to four students may play at the same time.


The object of the game is to form a big time-line with key dates of the Space Exploration, and the players' Family History.

Flow of the game:

  1. The players mix together their sets of cards, and the "Space Exploration" set provided by the teacher.
  2. The dealer deals eight cards to each player.
  3. The remaining cards are placed face down for later use.
  4. The game starts when the player who has the lowest card about Space Exploration places it facing up on the table.
  5. Whenever a player places a card, he should read the information written there.
  6. Moving clockwise from the dealer, the next player places a card following the same time line, or matching the date with a card from other time line.
  7. If he can't play any of his cards, he should take one from the deck, until he finds one that he can play.
  8. The first player to place all his cards on the big time-line is the winner.
  9. The game is over when all the players have placed their cards on the big time line.
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Card design

Each card represents a key event in the Space Exploration or Family History. They are the same size as regular index cards, so more card can easily be made. They have the year, a picture, an a short explanation of the event. Cards belonging to the same time line have the same background color.

The "Space Exploration" set will be formed by the following cards:

Each player should make its own set of cards, by gathering information about his family (see Game Preparation). They will later be able to compare other family histories, together with great universal history moments.

Deck design

The deck has a total of 24 to 40 cards according to the number of players (2 to 4).

The deck is formed by a main suit (Space Exploration) provided by the teacher, and a suit for each player (Family History). Each suit or time line is formed by 8 cards with the same background color.

The students could also make their own version of the main suit to play anywhere.

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Design Process

Having a boy of 7 who loves watching "Apollo 13" movie, I decided to prepare a game for him and his friends. The content was perfect to compare time lines, because I was almost 7 by the time of Apollo 13. Playing the game we would be able to learn more about the Space Exploration, and share nice memories within our Family, and with the Families of our son's friends.

Keeping my audience in mind, I also decided to use the Family History instead of the World History, because wars and certain "discoveries" are not always easy to explain or understand. The game is really easy to play, and it was a lot of fun to make the cards to play it.

This game can also be used to reinforce many other subjects according to the Curriculum.

The other game I tried to design (and still keep in mind) was called "Don't cry for me, Evita", and was related to the life of Evita Peron. The objective of the game was to show what was going on around the world and particularly in Argentina, along with the life of Evita. Students would be able to visualize the main events of that period, discover other personalities of the world, and have a better view of the world's history. The cards could have the format of a Newspaper's front page, presenting the information as the main news of the day. This would also show the characteristics of each Newspaper through the time, providing aditional information.

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There's no better place than the NASA Home Page to look for more information.

Last updated by Maria Rodriguez in November 1996.

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Educational Technology 670, Fall 1996.