Board Games: Not a Trivial Matter When It Comes to Learning

Board Games: Not a Trivial Matter When It Comes to Learning

Ever fight over a game or some trivial matter? I once had a spat about a Scattergories game that nearly ruined Christmas. Even though they are seemingly small issues, people can get so worked up because they just can’t see the other side.

During the game of Scattergories, players must find words beginning with a specific letter for a set of categories. They will only receive points for unique and legitimate answers. While I was really excited for my Adbusters Magazine entry, my family was unfamiliar with the publication and did not reward me with any points; they thought I was making it up. Not having the maturity to see “it’s only a game”, I couldn’t let it go for the longest time. And what’s more, I’m not the only one to get upset over a board game: Hasbro set up a U.K. hotline to settle fights over Monopoly games this past Christmas.

Since people actually start playing games as children, I decided to provoke some disagreements for a Build Skills in Communications activity using  Telestrations. This game, by USAopoly, is a cross between Pictionary and Broken Telephone; players alternate between drawing words and guessing words. Even if players try to help each other by leaving hints, their hints might not be interpreted in the intended way. This potential for miscommunication gives the Girls an opportunity to gain resilience and perspective. Additionally, the evolution of words and pictures will give the Girls feedback in thought processes and artistic skill.

I bought this game because I enjoy playing it with my family just for fun. However, if you don’t have it, you can still play along in your Unit with these materials.

What you need for one round:

  • A pad of paper for each player, amount of pages equaling the number of players plus two (paper size 4.25″ x 5.5″)
  • Pencils for each player
  • A deck of words that the players will eventually be drawing; there should be one for each player
    • Note: even though I used the dry erase pad and markers from the original game, I still opted to make my own deck to simplify the concepts
      • Some examples: mouse, sandwich, snore, teacher
  • Timer

What to do:

  1. Each player writes her name on the first page of the pad.
  2. Each player takes a word from the deck and writes that word on the second page.
    • Odd number of players: Close the book and pass it to the right. In the new book, flip to page 2 where there should be a word present. Read the word and flip to page 3. Each player now has 2 minutes to draw that word on the blank page.
    • Even number of players: flip to page 3 and draw the word that was just written.
  3. After 2 minutes, close the book and pass it to the right.
  4. In the new book, flip directly to page 3, which should be a drawing. Look at that drawing, turn the page and guess the word. Close the book and pass it to the right.
  5. In the new book, flip directly to page 4 which should have a word. Read the word, flip to page 5 and draw this word in 2 minutes. Close the book and pass it to the right.
  6. Continue this process until each book has returned to the original player.
  7. Everyone can now go through their own books and share the evolution of words and drawings. You can expect lots of laughter now because the interpretations can be quite wild!

If you’re looking to make a more long-term version, this is a great DIY tutorial.


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