Prefix-Suffix Concentration





by Polly Stansell

Polly is currently a full-time student. She has taught elementary school for five years. She enjoys running, reading, and cooking.

Instructional Objective The students will be able to correctly match prefixes or suffixes with their appropriate meaning.


Learners The learners are fourth through sixth grade children. They are grouped heterogeneously so their ability level varies from low to high. This game is intended for both boys and girls who have a basic understanding of prefixes and suffixes. They must know not only how to identify the prefix and suffix, but also its meaning. The learners are meant to play the game in the classroom, but it can be played anywhere there is a flat surface and two or more people.


Rationale Children love to play card games, especially at school. Prefix-Suffix Concentration is a game that will allow the children to practice and review prefixes and suffixes and their meaning. My experience as a teacher has been that children remember concepts they learn in a nontraditional manner (card game) better than those concepts taught using a more traditional approach(drill and practice). This game can be changed as the level of children's understanding increases by using more difficult prefixes and suffixes.


Rules Ages: 9-12.

Number of Players: 2-6. Although this game can be played with up to six players, two players is best in order to keep the game moving rapidly.

1. Shuffle the cards carefully.

2. Spread the cards face down on a clean, flat surface. Make sure the cards do not touch each other. The cards do not need to be arranged in a nice, neat manner; it is more challenging if the cards are scattered.

3. Each player in turn turns two cards face up, one at a time, without moving either away from its position in the layout.

4. If the two cards are a pair, a prefix or suffix with its correct meaning, then the player removes them to his own pile of pairs won, and turns over two more cards.

5. When the player turns up two cards that are not a pair, he returns them to their face down position, and the turn passes to his left.

6. The cards should be left face up until all the players have the opportunity to study the cards, generally a few seconds.

7. The player who gathers the most pairs of cards wins the game.


Card Design


Deck Design The card deck is made up of 52 cards just like a regular deck of cards. This is done to keep the game as familiar as possible to the children. I don't want them to spend valuable time figuring out new rules or an unfamiliar format. The cards will be divided evenly between two different types, one with either a prefix or suffix, and the other with the definition of the prefix or suffix. The prefix-suffix card will also have an example of a word using the prefix or suffix so the children will be able to tell whether it is a prefix or suffix.


Design Process In designing this game I used the process described in our readings by Ellington, Addinall, and Percival. My first question was, "Why was I designing the game?" Other than the obvious answer that it is a requirement for this class, I wanted to design an educational game for children that I could use in my classroom in the future. In keeping with the model, I then decided who would be my target population and what would be the objective.

Once I decided on the content and the learners, I needed to decide what format would work best for the material I selected. I decided on concentration because it is a game that children are already very familiar with, and the rules are very simple. Another reason, is that it can easily be changed into a game that can be played on the computer.

After the choice of format had been made, I needed to design the cards in a way that would be both educational and attractive. I wanted to make sure the cards are easy to read and understand, yet pleasing to the eye. I made sure the children would be forced to read the cards in order to find a match. I accomplished this by not putting any markers at the top of the cards to signify a match. I also decided to include an example of the prefix or suffix being used in a word. I did this for two reasons: first, it is a good way to increase the learners' vocabulary, and second, by seeing the prefix or suffix used in a word they are able to distinguish between the different word parts. An example of the cards can be found at the end of the document.

As with just about anything you do in life, once you have done something you think of all of the things you would do differently the next time. This project was not an exception. I had originally planned that once the card game was over the players would receive one point for each pair of cards they had. Then they would be able to gain additional points if they were able to think of another word that had the same prefix or suffix. The problem was the children generally were unable to think of words on their own that had the same prefix or suffix. They could find a word that fit the criteria if they looked in the dictionary, but this would slow play and frankly, the children did not think much of this part of the "game." I also had to be careful about which prefixes and suffixes I selected. At first the game was too difficult. The word parts I used on the cards were simply too obscure. I solved this problem by reviewing the students' spelling and language books to find which prefixes and suffixes were used the often. These were the ones I put on the cards.