Lesson 2: Action and Reaction: Writing Rules for Your World
Students will observe Newton's Third Law of Motion in action.
Students will create rules for an original game.
Worksheet 2, computer access, a combination of indoor and outdoor play items such as tennis balls, rubber bands, paper clips, spinners, egg timers, hula hoops, cups, streamers, decks of cards, sidewalk chalk, ping-pong balls, flags, pens, whistles, colored tape, stopwatches, dice, etc.
Before class begins, place a selection of game items (as noted above) on a table in your classroom.
Time required: 45 minutes, plus game design timeWhat to do:
1. Ask: Imagine that a new kind of soccer has been invented. The field looks the same, but there's one big change. Instead of two goals, there's only one—located in the center of the field! Both teams will be trying to score in the same net. Can you find any problems with this unusual goal placement? As a class, debate the effect of this change.As a class, debate the effect of this change.
2. Discuss the concepts of meaningful decisions, win conditions, and lose conditions using the definitions below.
3. Explain that Newton's Third Law of Motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Explain that students will apply this law as they write rules for an original goal-scoring game.
4. Separate students into even numbered groups and ask each group to select two or three materials they would like to use in their game.
5. Write the following statements on the board:
- The rules must explain how to use all items the group picked.
- Your game must have two teams of two players each.
- The rules must describe different ways that players can achieve the game's goal.
- What are the goals of the game?
- How does the game end? How does it begin?
- What are players doing while playing?
- What are the decisions players have to make while playing?
- What is the play space?
Using the worksheet:
7. Explain that students will now identify any potential problems in their game using Newton's Third Law of Motion. Distribute Worksheet 2 and provide 10 minutes for students to analyze their rules.
8. Provide five minutes for groups to make adjustments to their game rules.
9. Ask: Did anyone discover that the game they created was too easy or too hard? How did you know? Explain that in the next lesson, students will play their games and use problem solving skills to make their games better.
10. Challenge student groups to create a video game, based on the rules they have just outlined. Go to www.activategames.org/getting-started and sign in. Then follow the directions to create their original video game.
Encourage your students in grades 7-12 to submit their video game designs to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for the chance to earn scholarships and awards. Click here for information and registration details. Collaborations are welcome!
Decisions: Decisions are the choices players make during the game. In basketball, decisions include whether to pass or shoot, or to dribble or pass. In Super Mario Brothers®, decisions include whether to jump over enemies or on enemies.
Lose Conditions: Games usually have lose conditions that let players know when they have lost a game. This might be having no money left at the end of Monopoly or having fewer points than the other team at the end of a basketball game. Lose conditions are written into the rules of games. Games also have win conditions.
Meaningful Choice: Meaningful choices are the decisions players make in which they have to make important decisions about what actions they are going to take as they try to meet the win conditions and to avoid the lose conditions of the game.
Win Conditions: Games usually have win conditions that let players know when the game is won. This might be having the highest score at the end of a certain amount of time, as in basketball or football, or making it to the end of a level in Super Mario Brothers® Multiplayer online games. Win conditions are written into the rules of games. Games also have lose conditions.