Re-opening the toy box!

Re-opening the toy box!

This week #CreativeHE is discussing creativity and play in education and day two is focused on the use of play and games in teaching.

I'm a big lover of games. I have lots of happy memories playing boardgames as a child (and less so happy memories or Monopoly!). This turned to computer games through my teens, then on to drinking games! In the last couple of years I re-discovered my love of boardgames and thanks to a possibly unhealthy obsession with Kickstarter have a growing collection of new and rather interesting games. As a secondary science teacher, this love of games permeated through into my teaching.

I once found in a catalogue some foam dice which had a transparent pockets on each face which you could put a card in. One use I found for these was to put the name of a molecule on each face. Students rolled the dice and had to draw the structure, or vice versa, this was sometimes combined with molymods. Build what you roll.

Repurposing games was also a great opportunity, I saw online someone had written questions on Jenga blocks and thought that would be fun, although a bit of a one use item. Instead I coloured the ends of each block - students then had to pick a block and answer a question from the question bank of the same colour. Each colour representing a different level difficulty or style of question.

Articulate/Taboo or 'What's in the bag' were easily produced using a set of sand timers and some cheap black pencil cases (with skull and crosssbones on - Yarr!) so multiple groups could play at once, trying to describe and guess key words and concepts from descriptions of what's on the cards inside.

Possibly my favourite was spotting a copy of Pass the bomb in a charity shop. The cards for the game are still in the box but the plastic bomb got a lot of use adding adding fun (and pressure) to a challenge, you need to  answer quick and pass it on before the bomb 'explodes'!

Eeeeek! It's ticking! Get rid of it!

Eeeeek! It's ticking! Get rid of it!

The games were perfect for plenaries, recap starter activities the following lesson, or as revision activities - a definite break from answering another bank of practice questions!

Since moving into HE I've regularly used challenges and competitive elements in my teaching, but don't think I've really explored incorporating playing games. That said, I did introduce my trainee chemistry teachers to Valence, a chemistry card game I bought on Kickstarter! Anyway, I'll have to find some appropriate sessions and then dig out my teaching toy box for next year!

PS

I've also used some of my repertoire of drinking games in the classroom, re-branded as concentration or thinking games with definitely no alcohol involved! Sshhhh!

Constructing knowledge: a constructivist approach to personal pedagogy

Constructing knowledge: a constructivist approach to personal pedagogy