Wednesday, July 4, 2012


This is a game of critical thinking that we do in the teaching world. I decided to introduce the game to "A" who is going into 1st grade next year. You want to take picture of something that are related, but not completely. For example you could do geometric shapes but not all triangles or animals but not all mammals. I chose to teach "A" the game with animals because I just happened to have a bunch of National Geographic animal cards that come in the Little Kids magazine (love this magazine for primary kiddos). I know they also have similar cards in the Zoobook magazines.

The way you play Categories is to have the child sort the cards into different categories of their choosing. You can tell them they can sort it by type of animal, color, where they live, whatever they want it is their choice but all the cards in that category must be related somehow. Tell them you will guess which categories they chose when they are ton. Then sit back and RESIST THE URGE to tell them what to do or direct them in any way. The point of the game is critical thinking so they need to work it out for themselves. I left the room actually. When "A" was done he called me in to guess. His first were things that live in water, near water, and completely on land. It was a tricky one. Have the child explain the categories and why they chose them (part of the critical thinking process). Next I sorted the cards and he guessed. This is a great way to model how to play. He loved it and we played many rounds of taking turns making categories. Here is some of the categories we came up with:

With shells
Baby Animals (another group was unsure of age)
Have Spots
What continent they live on (that was me not me 6 year old)
The sky is the limit on the different categories you can make just with the animal cards alone. In a school setting we have played this game for almost every unit we teach: plants, colonial life, Native Americans, geometry, landforms, habitat and environment, rocks & minerals, etc. If you don't have cards make ones from magazine cut-outs or Google images. Kids love thinking they can stump, and better yet, teach adults-its empowering!
Happy Playing Everyone!

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