For the last several months, I’ve been working with some kids at Scarlett Middle School here in Ann Arbor, teaching them about electronics and amateur radio. For a number of reasons—that I won’t go into just yet—I haven’t been as successful as I was hoping to be.
Dismayed by my lack of success, I went to talk to a friend of mine, who had been a school librarian. After listening to my tale of woe, she offered this advice, “Can you make a game out of it somehow”? That struck a chord because one of the kids is mesmerized by computer games.
To be honest, I’m not big on games myself. My wife and I have a modest selection, including Monopoly and Scrabble. In the past, however, we did play a fair amount of Trivial Pursuit. Thinking about this a bit, it hit me that I could use the board and game pieces from Trivial Pursuit for a new game I’m calling Tech Pursuit.
In Trivial Pursuit, there are six categories, each corresponding to a color: brown, pink, orange, yellow, green, and blue. Players throw a die and move around a board, landing on spaces of one color or another. An opposing player then pulls a card from the question card deck and asks a question from the appropriate category.
In Trivial Pursuit, each card has six questions, one from each category. In Tech Pursuit, however, each question card has only one question. This is necessary because the Tech exam questions are multiple-choice.
Another difference between Trivial Pursuit and Tech Pursuit is the number of categories. Because there are ten categories in the Tech question pool, I had to assign questions from two categories to a particular color. For example, in Tech Pursuit, questions from category 3 and 4 are the “green” questions.
Since there are only ten categories, I’ve only assigned five colors. Brown is unassigned and becomes a “wild card.” If a player lands on a brown space, he or she can choose a question from any category.
Other than the differences in the cards and categories, Tech Pursuit is played just like Trivial Pursuit.
Making the Cards
Making the cards was a lot of work, since each question has to be on its own card. I chose to make the cards 2.5-in. high by 3.25-in. wide. I cut and pasted each of the questions in the question pool to a word-processing template that I set up for this. Six questions fit on a 8.5 x 11-in. page.
Then, I printed the page onto card stock and then used a paper cutter to separate the individual cards. Finally, because I had only one color of card stock, I used markers of different colors to give each a color dot denoting the category.
This was a lot of work. If I had to do it over again, I’d try to find card stock that’s perforated, so that once you’ve printed the card, all you have to do is tear them apart.
At least you won’t have to cut and paste from the question pool like I did. Here is a zip file that contains all of the pages—there are 68 in all.
The kids played this game yesterday for the first time, and it was a big success. I think it would be a success with adults and mixed groups, too. I hope that if you’re teaching a Tech class that you might give it a try.