Category Archives: Reading/Writing Games

Interested in adding games to your classroom teaching?

In case all the ideas on this website aren’t enough, I just found a great blog that gives you a steady stream of cool classroom ideas, mostly for elementary school, but I already see a couple I can modify to use in my community college classroom. The author is Mike Perry, and he taught high school math, but many of the games will work with any subject.

For example, here’s a game called “This or that” that would work well as an ice breaker in any class at the start of the year:

Test Review Jeopardy

One of the easiest ways to incorporate games into teaching is to use Jeopardy. I have used it to liven up test reviews in courses as disparate as calculus and remedial arithmetic. Free templates for the game can be gotten by searching “PowerPoint Jeopardy Template.” You can then enter questions and answers into the template. There are also versions available that teachers have posted for various classes, with the questions and answers already written in.

To make game play more collaborative, and to ensure that everyone is working, the whole class can participate in finding the answer to each question, rather than just one student at a time, or the class can be split into teams. Student appreciate being able to go back over the game at home as further review, which can be facilitated by posting the game online, for example, in a course management system such as Blackboard.

Monopoly Mod

Created by Francesco Crocco

To simulate how class inequality increases over time due to inherited wealth, land, and privilege

1. Define the word “monopoly” and talk about the ideas that the game embodies (competition, monopolization, survival of the fittest, level playing field, social mobility, the American Dream)

2. Make teams and assign each team a different class profile. I use the American profiles in Gregory Mantsios’ “Class in America: Myths and Realities,” Rereading America, 6th ed., ed. Colombo, Cullen, & Lisle (NY: Bedford St. Martin, 2004) 331-45.

3. Answer and discuss question one

4. Review the rules and write each profile’s starting assets on the board

Modified Rules
1) Players start with unequal amounts of money and land (this corresponds roughly to
“Samuelson’s Pyramid” in Mantsios’ essay)
a. Harold, Capitalist: $4000 + Boardwalk, Park Place, & 3 Railroads
b. Bob, Middle Class Worker: $1500 + New York Ave
c. Cheryl, Lower Class Worker: $1000
d. Maria, Immigrant Worker: $500

2) Fortune Die: Each time a player passes go, roll a six-sided die for a random event to
simulate privilege. Implement the outcome in terms of monetary rewards or fines.
a. Capitalist: 1 bad, 2 nothing, 4-6 good
b. Middle Class Worker: 1-2 bad, 3-4 nothing, 5-6 good
c. Lower Class Worker: 1-3 bad, 4 nothing, 5-6 good
d. Immigrant Worker: 1-4 bad, 5 nothing, 6 good

3) No private transactions are allowed

4) End the game after 3 turns around the board (3 Rounds). Should take 60 minutes.

5) If someone besides Harold is winning after three rounds, they get extra XP

5. Answer and discuss questions two and three

Sample Random Events
Good: stock gain, tax cut, subsidy, award, raise, promotion, welfare

Bad: rent hike, stock loss, unemployment, tuition hike, bail money, tax hike, medical expense

Pre-game Question
1) How do you think the game will end for your character?

Post-game Questions
2) How did inherited wealth, land and privilege affect the outcome of the game? How did it specifically affect your character?

3) How can opportunity be made equal?

Image credit: mtsofan