Create a game for JH students
October 3, 2011 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Help design an on-going game for Junior High students

I'm looking for input and ideas about designing some sort of large-scale, collaborative but competitive "game" for Junior High students.

Background: In the past students have been divided into teams (typically 4-6 each year, with about 30-40 students each) that they remain with all year. Individual students can earn points for doing positive things (being on time, being helpful, doing well on a test, etc) which get contributed to the team score. At the end of the month, the team with the highest score gets a reward.

As some teams were much better at getting points than others, some of the teams that struggled had the idea of collecting their points for multiple months (they were on small slips of paper) and then turning them in when they knew they had enough to win a month. This idea of essentially "giving up" on some months bothered a lot of the students who wanted to give a full effort every month but their team really wouldn't work for it. I'd like to see more of an incentive to work as a team or having a strategy besides simply saving the points.

Any "game" we create would have to fit within the following parameters:
-6 teams with ~35 students each
-No more than 15-20 minutes each day updating the game
-Cyclical, preferably on a monthly cycle.
-Use the current point slip system for teachers to award points
-Encourage teamwork, strategy, and effort every cycle
-Only one winning team each month
-Possible bonus/head start to teams that didn't win

We have one large bulletin board that we use to post scores - it is large enough it could accommodate any reasonable game board we decided on. Also, access to all the typical school materials.
posted by _DB_ to Education (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
  • have points that expire
  • have a big prize at the end of the year for the team with the highest median score

posted by zamboni at 10:00 AM on October 3, 2011

You could allow teams to borrow against future points, up to their credit limit, to incentivize an allowed number of player trades, e.g. "We'll give you Bob plus 10 points in a swap for Alice." Could be pretty harsh on all the "Bobs," but in theory, problem solved.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:32 AM on October 3, 2011

Let teams accumulate points as they currently do. Each month, the team with the highest score wins and gets a prize, and then you zero out their point total. All the other teams keep their point total (variant: keep N% of their point total). Another useful model for this kind of game is a "cost of living" model, where each team has to pay N points each month, where N depends on the number of times they've won before (basically a handicap system, right).

I think you also need to look at what you want and work backwards from there, though. Like, there are six teams and the school year is nine months long, right? So do you need each team to win once and some of the teams to win twice or three times? Or would you be ok if one team wins four times, one team wins five, and nobody else wins any? This makes a big difference in how you design the game.
posted by inkyz at 12:42 PM on October 3, 2011

These may be too complicated but some ideas to incentivize repeat effort and teamwork:

Teams score bonus points for having multiple individuals on the same team earn points on the same day / week / for the same task.
Bonus points the fifth, tenth, fifteenth, twentieth time an individual earns a point. (Increasing each time.)
Deduct points if some people on the team never or rarely earn points individually.
posted by chickenmagazine at 1:44 PM on October 3, 2011

My high school was notorious for THE GAME which occurred every year second semester. I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for though..

Basically, we were paired off into groups of two, but this can be expanded to 4-6 easily. Each group was designed a country to be in charge of. Since this was for social studies, the class had two levels: honors and regular. The honors kids got poorer, small, resource lacking countries (ie Eritrea, Uganda, etc.) while the regular level kids got "easier" to manage countries like Japan, America and Australia.

We each started off with our countries annual GDP or whathaveyou. The goal of the game (obv) was to get rich. We had different resources we could "trade" (ie little cards with pictures on them). We also good give away money to countries that needed aid. There wasn't really any incentive to give away aid, except forming new trade bonds with other people, which was crucial in case a "disaster" happened. A disaster can be OMG ANDORRA HAD A FLOOD. loose 1 million dollars. or something, it can be good, too, like OMG GREECE HOSTS OLYMPIC GAMES increased revenue of 10billion dollars.

clearly, theres a lot of different things you can add into this, and i know there was a lot more depth, but it was like 8 years ago so i don't really remember all of the rules, i know there were wars and countries went bankrupt and went out of the game. i don't think there was any reward for winning at the end of the semester, but the prestige of WE WON WE WON the game was run by Game Gods, older students who played the year before. they could do whatever they wanted pretty much, like ask you trivia questions (name a country that borders Lesotho!) and if you get it right, monies for you!!!! teachers were also gamegods. each month, you could have a winner of the richest country, most aid-giving country, etc. OH important note: you needed a Game God signature to make ANY transaction, so there was no cheatin!
posted by fuzzysoft at 4:35 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

When I was in French immersion we were each given ten 10$ 'bills' at the beginning of each month. If we spoke English to another student, that student was allowed to demand that we give them ten dollars 'Donne moi Dix dollars'. At the end of each month we had an auction.
It was a really fun game and a great way to ensure that we spoke french amongst ourselves. Maybe you could adapt that game somehow.
posted by whalebreath at 5:33 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

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