Thursday, July 25, 2013

'What's in the bag?' #gamified

As I was playing with my 'What's in the bag?' app I found myself thinking about my accuracy each round, trying to minimize the number of draws before I could see the solution and wishing there was a way to measure all those things. So instead of mowing my lawn, playing some guitar or other fun things I decided to figure it out. What I think I have is a finished game that could be used in my class at various points in the year and at different levels. (Click here for a link to the game)
1. Scoring points: In the scoring structure I tried to reward behaviors each round like minimal number of draws and maintaining a high accuracy level. I also didn't want a kid to be able to just keep doing poorly but getting more points just for persistence. (This feels like a metaphor for classroom grading policies...). As part of my class activities surrounding this game I will ask students to create a function that rewards these game behaviors using something like to set up some sliders and view possible point values. Maybe some will actually figure out the function I have in the game itself. 
2. Probability: I want students to be thinking about sample size, potential combinations, experimental vs theoretical. There is a high reward value for guessing the correct combinations without drawing be we all know how that will end. I anticipate many conversations when they get one wrong that shows 8 greens and 3 red and the actual composition in the bag that round is 2 green and 2 red.
3. Ending the game: I didn't want to have to program an end to the game and I wanted students to decide when that stopping point occurs. As the number of games played increases, the points possible for each round will reduce...and actually approach zero : ) I like that it is hidden in the game play and they will discover it as they get further along. #evilteacher. 
4. Programming: I want to template the code a bit to give students a structure for creating their own javascript games later in the year. This may be naive wishful thinking in that I've never tried to teach javascript to algebra students and I have know idea how many will even go for it.
Anyway, I know what I'll be doing while I watch TV tonight. I'd love to hear your thought on this in the comments and would highly encourage you to start learning some programming. There are so many applications for it in my classroom.

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