Lesson 4: Recipe for Disaster
Students will learn about ratios through games.
Students will use the structure of a game to work with different mathematical and statistical concepts.
Worksheet 4; pen or pencil, computer access
Time required: 50 minutes, plus game design time
What to do:
1. Explain to students that a ratio is simply the measure of two or more quantities in relation to each other. One area where ratios are useful is in cooking. If you get the ratios in your recipe wrong, it will be a disaster. Ratios such as eggs to flour (in a cake), sugar to butter (in cookies), or salt to potatoes (in a soup) are important to get right.
2. Ratios can be applied to all areas of life. Have the class determine the ratio between quantities of objects in the classroom, such as boys to girls and desks to chairs. Ask why some ratios in the classroom might be more interesting or valuable than others. Point out that the ratio between pens and pencils is more interesting to discuss than the ratio of pens to windows.
3. Describe how a ratio can be used to determine a percentage. For example, have students figure out the percentage of comic book fans in the class. After they have gathered the necessary data and created a ratio, walk them through the process of changing the ratio into a fraction and the fraction into a percentage.
Using the student worksheet:
4. Distribute Worksheet 4 and tell students that they are going to explore ratios through game-building. Read aloud the instructions at the top of the worksheet.
5. Have students work individually to plan and build their games. Point out that it is important to think about ratios as they develop their games. Make sure that students record the ratios that they are going to use in their game on their worksheet.
6. If time allows, explain to students that the ratios in a game become a set of rules for the game. Once they have designed their simple game using Gamestar Mechanic, instruct them to play it through once. Tell them to change one of the ratios and to replay the game, noticing similarities and differences between the two game play experiences. Have students share any major changes in their games that they discover after changing the ratios.
7. Assist students in completing their worksheet, including listing as many ratios and percentages as they can from playing each other's games. Once students are finished, have them write their ratios and percentages on the board. When all the numbers are on the board, instruct the class to look for similarities and differences between their games' ratios and percentages.
8. 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!
TIP: Click here and discover how easy it is to use the online Gamestar Mechanic game design software. This special section for teachers includes an overview of the program as well as a Quick Start Guide.