Reflections On the “Whack A Mode” Game



Yesterday was my last AC230 class meeting. This meeting was very special, Prof. Smith organized an arcade party with all the educational games we had designed for the class. Students had a chance to play with each others games and win prizes. Here I talk about how things went with my game.

The goal of a Whack A Mode player was to recognize the color that appeared the most and to whack the craft sticks which represented that color under the least time possible. My game demanded recognition skills and fast hands from the player. However, everyone who played the game was very comfortable and played the game very well.

Whack A Mode allowed players to get an informal introduction to what is called ‘the mode’ in statistics. The players could have played the game without knowing what the mode was and still win. The game was designed for a first grade classroom and could be used as an attention getter for any lesson on the mode.

The game turn out to be very easy and quick to play. Most players were finished playing within 10 seconds of starting. Players were able to recognize the mode very quickly. Which in part could’ve been due to the fact that the crafts sticks were uncovered and players might have been able to recognize the mode in advance, from afar, even before they  decided to play the game. To make this game more competitive, I would have to cover it while no one is playing. Also, I would have to add more craft sticks to it. More Craft sticks would definitely make the game more challenging.

Before I register for this course I thought that the class was going to be a very boring and demanding computer course, just like the ones I had previously taken at my old school. This is the reason why I decided to take this course in the winter, to get it over with. However, from the very first day I realized that this class was going to be very different than what I had expected. Prof. Smith gave us a very inspiring introduction to the course by showing us a video of Cain’s Arcade and since that day I’ve been excited with all the classwork done in class. I loved the idea of the class being designed around construction of an arcade. It gave me something to look forward to.

My favorite non-game oriented assignment was DS 106 assigment called 911, Whats Your Emergency?  In this assignment, I was required to create a recording of a funny 911 call. I decided to create the recording with the help of my sister and it turn out to be hillarious. Overall, I enjoyed the experience of creating an educational game and I am looking forward to creating many more for my future classrooms. I wouldn’t change anything about the class, It was very interesting, fun and I learned a lot.

Whack A Mode

I received great feedback from my friends, my classmates and Prof. Smith on how to improve The Mode Game. Using their input I was able to improve The Mode Game into a new game that is now called “Whack A Mode”.

The last game was very slow and had an unintended memorization aspect to it. This time, I made the game just about learning the mode. I was able to remove the memorization aspect and increase the speed of the old game simultaneously by presenting the all the data at once. In The Mode Game the data was displayed individually which took more time and memorization. To make the improvement I had to modify the entire game. Here is a video of the new game:



Here is how I created the game using the steps of Find Play In Things

Gather Materials:

A cardboard box, color craft sticks, a stopwatch, clear tape, gift wrap paper and a home made hammer.

Activity Explored:

I made small holes in the box so that the craft sticks would stand alone on the cardboard box.

Core Activity:

Use the hammer to whack the all the craft sticks that represent the most frequent color displayed.


One player is required to play per game. The player recognizes the color that appears the most (the mode) and whacks all the craft sticks which represent that color. The player does this without touching the other sticks and in the least time possible.  The time will be measured using a stopwatch. If the player finishes within 10 seconds he or she gets 30 tickets, within 15 seconds 20 tickets and within 20 seconds 10 tickets, if the player takes more than 20 seconds he or she receives no tickets.

Play Testing The Game:

I had some of my friends play the the game to test it. They liked the game for the most part, but recommended that I remove some craft sticks to make it easier for kids to identify the mode. I feel confident that this game can help students understand the concept of the mode.

I wished my new game lasted a bit longer and that it was more engaging to the players. During my building process I made many different versions of the game but at the end I ended up with the design that was possible to build within the time constraints.



The Mode Game

While I was surfing the web, I came across a math lesson plan which explains what the mode of a set of data is.  Using that lesson and a recent posted blog as my inspiration, I decided to create this math game called, “Whack A Mode”  and it is shown in the video below.



The mode is the number or thing that occurs the most in a set of data. This game highlights the concept of the mode by making obvious the number which repeats the most. The data, Numbers 1 through 5, pop up one at the time, as shown in the video. The player acknowledges a number by whacking it down, right after that number goes down a random number, from 1 through 5, will come up again. This continues to happen until the game stops (normally it lasts less than 1 minute). The player keeps track of how many times each number has come up. If the player can identify correctly the number that appears the most, he or she wins and the number identified is called the mode. In the video, the number “5” is the mode.

Other parts of the lesson that can be applied to this game are the facts that the mode can be represented by more than one number and/or that the mode may not exist in a given set of data.

I received great feedback from my friends who played the game with me. For the most part the liked the game, but wished the game was faster.

Chuck E. Cheese Games For Inspiration

Today our class went to Chuck E. Cheese to gather ideas about our final project, which is to build an educational arcade. The trip was fun and we played with most of the arcade games there. A particular game that caught my attention was the game called Treasure Quest. Here is a video of the game.



The game was very easy to play, all a player must do is: Insert a coin, spin the wheel,  and the number where the wheel stops is the number of tickets the player gets. The goal of the game is to have the spinning wheel stop at the highest number possible (a number from 1-100). In the video above, I inserted a coin, other enthusiastic players spun the wheel for me and when the wheel stopped at the number one, the game gave us a single prize ticket for our efforts.

After playing the game many times, I decided to make some modifications to make the game appeal to a K-12 classroom. First, instead of having to put coins in the machine to have a chance to play, in my modification, the teacher chooses a player from a urn containing all the names of the students in the classroom. Second, Instead of spinning the wheel for numbers that represent ticket points, the student would spin the wheel for  numbers that represent extra-credit points (numbers from 1 through 10). In order to earn the extra credit points, the student would have to correctly answer a question, administered by the teacher, from material recently covered in class.

Playing the arcade game was fun but modifying the game for K-12 was much more satisfying. An arcade game linked to academic learning is a powerful tool for teachers in classrooms. Such games can be fun and enhance students learning at the same time.



DS106 Styled Assignments For K-12 Learning

In this post, I write about two assigments that I created for K-12 Math classrooms using DS106 website ideas. The first assignment I named “Caption Your Geo” and the second,  “Record Your Math”.

Caption Your Geo’s main learning objective is to help students remember the area of geometric figures. This assignment requires the students to: 1) search online for the image of a geometric figure.  2) add captions to the image denoting the name and ‘formula of the area’ of the geometric figure. 3) send the resultant image via e-mail to their teacher so he or she can share it in class through a powerpoint presentation.  Here is an example of this assignment I created using GIMP:

The second assigment, “Record Your Math”, requires students to record the steps of solving a specific mathematics problem using an audio program and sending a copy of the file to the teacher. The learning objective of this assignment is to enhance student’s learning. Most students have a better understanding of what they learn when they explain it to others. For example, if a student chooses to talk about the steps of adding or substracting like fractions and uses the Audacity and SoundCloud platforms to create and share his or her recording, then their explanation should sound similar to this:

[soundcloud params=”auto_play=false&show_comments=true”][/soundcloud]


Visual and Audio New Media assigments are very useful in the classrooms. They help enhance students learning by helping them focus in a specific activity. At the same time, these assignments can be fun for students.

Creating Assignments From DS 106

DS 106 is a free online course in which students develop their new media skills by completing visual, audio, video and many other types of new media assignments. Hit it and 911, What’s Your Emergency? were the two assignments I completed for DS 106.

Hit it is a visual assignment in which you add a caption to a picture in order to make it funny.  Here is my picture:

Marine recruits during basic training

In this picture you can see marine recruits  going through their physically rigorous basic training. To make the image funny I added text which says “I should’ve listened to my momma…”. The text I added tries to match the agony and pain that the recruits display in the picture, which I thought was funny. By completing the assignment, I learned how to add captions using GIMP.

The second assignment from DS 106 was an audio recording assignment called 911, Whats Your Emergency?  The goal of this assignment is to create a 911 call while having fun with it. My sister and I recorded a call in which a man calls 911 because he needs a cab but has no money to pay for it. The recording turned out to be very funny. The assignment allowed me to learn how to record audio using my phone and how to attach it to an image using Window Live Movie maker. Here is the recording:


I’m glad I completed the assignment from DS 106 because it pushed me to learn new media software tools that I’ll be able to use in the future as a teacher.


Glovaircup: The Creation Of A New Game

The article Find Play in Things was written to show people how to make games out of anything within 6 steps. I show you how I created the game I called Glovaircup by following those steps.


Step 1: Gather the materials.

I gathered some large rubber gloves (without powder), some large plastic cups and my phone’s stopwatch.

Step 2: Explore Activities

Timer: started and stopped the time. Gloves: put them on, streched them, filled them with air.  Cups: filled them with water/air, stacked them, made a tower/pyramid.

Step 3: Pick One Core Activity

The core activity of my game is ‘the filling up of the glove with air’.

Step 4: Pick A Goal

The goal is to fill the glove with air and connect that glove to the cup without letting the air scape away from the glove and cup combination.

Step 5: Create Rules

A minimum of two players is required, the players decide the time required for the game. Connect as many air-filled gloves to cups without letting the air in the glove scape from the up and glove connection within the given time frame. The player who makes the most connections when the time is up wins.

Step 6: Play test your game

I had some of my friends play the the game to test it.

My friends liked the game a lot but most of them had difficulty connecting the air-filled gloves with the cup without letting the air scape from the cup and glove. They recommended that I set the game to a single glove and cup combination and also that I remove the time limit from the game since it was already challenging without time. I listened to their suggestions and changed the rules of the game. Now the game is limited to single glove-cup combination and there is no time limit (no more stopwatch), the player who finishes first, is the player who wins.

writing an autobiography essay

The Price Is Right: Game Exercise



Today’s class was very entertaining, during class I created a mock up of one of The Price Is Right’s TV show games and also was able to modify my group’s game of the same TV show.

First, I created a mock up of the game called Any number. The game’s five core design elements are:


The first digit in the price of the car is revealed when the game begins; the digits 0 through 9 each appear once in the remaining 10 spaces, including a duplicate of that first digit. The contestant calls out digits one at a time, revealing them in the prices of the prizes on the board, and wins the first prize whose price is completely revealed.

Core Mechanics: what gets the contestant through the game is just pure luck.

Space: Gameboard is unique with an oval shape with colors red white black gold/silver.


A gameboard contains spaces representing five digits in the price of a car, three digits in the price of a smaller prize, and three digits representing an amount of money (less than $10, in dollars and cents) in a Piggy Bank

Goal: The goal is to pick five digits which represent the price of the car.

This is a mock up of the gameboard of the “Any Number” game.

Any Number game mock up picture

In my mock up game a $21,680  2013 Honda Accord and a $549 Laser Interceptor were set as the prizes and $2.37 as the Piggy Bank. As you can observe the number 2 is given at the beginning of the game in the mock up picture and it is the first number on the price of the car. The contestant can pick a number from 0 through 9 one at the time until all the boxes of a least one prize fills up (which the selection of a number, a box fills up in the corresponding prize category). For example, if the contestant picks the numbers 0, 1, 2, 6, and 8 before the the Laser Detector or Piggy Back boxes are filled with numbers then that contestant gets the brand new Honda Accord.

Once I finished with my mock up game I shared it with the rest of my classmates which were in the same group as I. After playing each others game, we decided which game was going to represent us as a group. My group’s Price Is Right game was called Credit Card. This game’s five core design elements are:

Rules: The player chooses a credit limit out of the container.  Then they will have to select three items (one at a time) that totals below the credit limit they chose.  If their total does not exceed the credit limit, they will win all eight prizes!

Core Mechanics: The player has to have a good estimate of how much these items cost

Goal: The players goal is to try and guess which 3 items total won’t exceed the credit amount they chose

Space: The items just have to be visible to the player so it is best that they stand in front of the credit limits container and the item cards

Components: Eight cards with 1 item on each (the price is on the back but the player is not able to see it), a container with different credit limits, calculator for adding up the price of the items.


mock up of the Credit Card game

The modification I made was a rule change. In the original game if the contestant chooses three items below the credit limit him or her wins all the prizes in the game. My rule change is this:  If the contestant chooses three items below the credit limit him or her wins all the prizes in the game OR can choose to receive a cash sum that is significantly less than the total price of all the prizes in the game. This rule change gives the contestant a choice.  I made the cash prize be significantly lower than the total price of all the prizes in the game because TV show prizes usually represent a sponsor of the show. A significantly lower cash prize discourages the contestant from choosing the cash prize and allows the sponsor’s products choose then over cash. The contestant would normally choose this cash option only if she or he truly needs the cash. My class mates seemed to be okay with this change.

Personally I like this post because by writing it understand how games are very useful teaching tools. Not only they entertain, but also help the players grasp the rules and concepts involved in them. A deeper understanding is better obtained by attempting to change the rules of the game. Changing the rules requires the player to take a closer look at the original rules and requires more creativity. A game linked with an academic lesson can enhance the learning of students.



My Entry Point To Math Teaching Connections

Today I was searching Google Blogs for math teachers that are active bloggers which could potentially help me on my path to becoming a math teacher. During my search I found the website called Great Math Teaching Ideas created by William Emeny who used to be a secondary school math teacher and now works at Wyvern College in Hampshire, England as a lecturer and Deputy Curriculum Leader. Emeny wrote a blog on his site called “Probably the best blogs by maths teachers around the world” which he shares his thoughts on what he thinks are the best blogs by teachers around the world.

There are some really great blogs out there written by maths teachers who really care about their practice. I enjoy reading their posts as they share their insight and ideas and think about how it could improve my own teaching.

I believe that this blog is the entry point to my own network of connections that can help me on my path to becoming a math teacher. The blog pointed me to great and experienced k-12 math teachers that actively blog on how to make math education better. Among such educators is Dan Meyer, who has very interesting ideas on how to improve math education by letting students develop their independent thinking skills and Kate Nowak who Emeny decribes as a blogger who keeps the big picture of mathematics teaching in mind. It is very likely that I will find potential connections through Emeny’s blogs that could help me a lot in my educational journey.



How To Wire A Simple Series LED Circuit

Hello Everyone! A few years ago, I studied Electronics Technology and while I did that I enjoyed wiring circuits. Below I share with you a video in which I illustrate the steps I used to wire a simple series LED circuit using a breadboard.

The most surprising thing about making this instructional video was how long it took me to organize and finally explain the simple steps involved with the circuit. In my mind I know exactly how to connect the circuit but explaining it to other people in a video is another story for me. I’m glad I made this video because It allows me to see what I need to correct before I can instruct anyone about anything. My future work is all about teaching so I need lots of practice and I realize the best way for me right now is through making instructional videos. However, for it being my first video tutorial, I feel that it was good and I’m hopeful that it will assist someone.