Monday, October 1, 2012

Fixing a Common Problem With My Like Terms Card Game

Jen B, a high school math teacher from Kansas recently wrote me with a dilemma using my Like Terms card game:
My students are playing the game and our biggest problem is getting someone to go out. They use all the draw pile and then the only card left is ,'take 1 card from another player' Sometimes they can go out, sometimes they are at a stand still. What did we do wrong? They are in groups of 3 kids and I only let them create matches of 3 or 4 like terms at a time. It seems like you'll need a discard pile. Please advise us.
What I told her was that I avoided using a discard pile in my original game because my students were not familiar with rummy style (draw, play, discard) gameplay, but you can certainly add it back in.

The other option is to allow students to add individual cards onto other people's piles, which some people allow in rummy type games. So if my opponent has x, 3x and 5x and in my hand I have a lonely 2x, I can add it on to my opponent's group. I would put it with my own cards and I have to announce what I'm adding it on to, so that players aren't just throwing down cards they can't make groups of. In this way, they're still making groups but have the flexibility they need to get out.

After my response, she let me know how she fixed the problem:
For my second class, I added the discard pile back in. My students seemed to be familiar with Rummy and even asked if they could take the top card off the discard pile instead of draw, which I just might do next time.
Adding the discard pile back in solved our problem.
Earlier posts on this game: