In all of my preparations at the end of last year I forgot my #1 rule. Students competing against each other doesn’t work in my gamified classroom. I had transitioned a few years ago to students competing together against the game. I also forgot my second rule which was gathering game data from every student keeps a higher percentage of the students engaged. I have been successfully using Plickers for this but tried to change up the formula this year. The wrestling card game that I built broke both of these rules. Students’ factions competed against each other and they were able to work in small groups to answer the questions. The competitions were ok but did not get the big pop of winning or losing that I was getting from the boss fights. Most disappointing was that in small groups of 3-4 only 1 or 2 were even reading the questions much less trying to answer it! So – back to the winning formula!

TV Matches

We are currently in Unit 2 of our American History class. I have abandoned the wrestling trading card game after Unit 1 because it was not working. I transitioned to weekly “TV Matches”. Each faction would have a random tag team opponent with special match skills. A Multiple Choice quiz was given using the Plickers system and when each student got the question correct they could roll a D6 to attack their opponent. So, in a group of 4 their could be a possible 4 dice rolls if each student got the question correct. The Tag Team opponents’ special skills were modeled on my previous mini-boss battles.

Using the D6 as the main attack die and had 10 questions per Plickers quiz. Using the following formula I gave the tag team opponents Hit Points that were fair but still allowed some students to lose the match. Yes, some of the students will lose the match even if they do well on answering the questions. A game is no fun if there is no chance to lose which makes the victories all the more meaningful. This is not graded and while there is a prize (see run-ins) for victory it is so minor as to not be impactful on the grades or my wallet. If the student faction does not get the HP to zero by the time the last question is answered they lose the match.

((Possible max attack) x # of Students in match) x number of questions) x .35

  • A Group of 4 = ((6×4)x10)x.35 = 84
  • A Group of 3 = ((6×3)x10)x.35 = 64
  • A Group of 2 – ((6×2)x10)x.35 = 42

.35 is like Einstein’s Universal Constant. I don’t know why it works but it seems to be the number that best addresses the randomness of the dice rolls and creates a fair competition even with the opponent’s special skills.

I have the Slides printed and clipped together on the faction tables. Students roll a D10 to determine which tag team they will face – the number rolled will match the number in the upper right hand corner of the card.

Run – In Cards

If a faction wins a match each student gets a Run-In card. These are small token cards (I print 32 on a sheet of paper) can be used on test day to eliminate 1 answer choice on a multiple choice test. It is a nearly insignificant bonus that Some students treat these like gold and others don’t really care about. I would place this as a “power” reward though on the SAPS scale.

The TV Matches are building up to a bigger “Boss Fight” style match before test day. In this Unit it will be a LADDER MATCH!