Second Grade:

simple facts, abstractions, linkages

A WaterBird Educational Game

Please note that this is a sample game designed to illustrate *one* way in which the HipBone family of games might be of use in the classroom.

Teachers who would be interested in working with this family of Games are encouraged to contact me, Charles Cameron, at: hipbone@earthlink.net.


Second grade is the time when most children have largely mastered the concrete operations that have occupied the first seven years of their lives, and are beginning to learn abstraction and the other mental processes which will largely occupy them for the next seven.

In a sample game at the second grade level, a teacher might begin class with the WaterBird board already drawn on the chalkboard:



and then continue by asking the class ten questions, as follows:

1. In the nursery rhyme, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled this.
2. We call the crystals that early peoples used to trade with this.
3. Don't play with matches, you might light a this.
4. Three quarters of the earth's surface is covered with this.
5. Mount Saint Helen's is one this, and Vesuvius is another.
6. The Atlantic is one this, and the Pacific is another.
7. The geyser Old Faithful is a hot water this.
8. No two flakes of thisare identical.
9. All the colors of the rainbow mixed together come out this.
10. The largest mammal on the planet is a this.

These are goal / task oriented questions, designed to elicit specific knowledge appropriate to this age group, drawing on a nursery rhyme, science, social studies, and health and safety. The answers should be written in the appropriate numbered positions on the WaterBird board:



The teacher can then ask students whether they notice anything else about the filled-in board. Students are likely to notice that some of the items in different positions are linked -- thus "salt" and "pepper" are two things we add to food to make it tastier.

They should then be invited to suggest linkages between any two items which are connected along the lines of the board. Thus the ocean is both salt and water, snow is a form of water, whales spout and live in the ocean, snow is white (but there's also Snow White for a second connection), fire melts snow, pepper and fire are both "hot", volcanos spout lava, white water is for rafting (and political shenanigans), and so forth.

These linkages teach an important cognitive skill, lateral or creative thinking, while reinforcing the factual knowledge displayed in answering the questions correctly. If the children are unable to come up with links along all the possible between items, the teacher can also supply some, with appropriate explanations. Some of the trickier links: salt is used to clear snow-filled roads, there are whitecaps in the ocean, pepper and snow can both be a little chili, fire under a teapot will produce steam up its spout, mountains are covered with snow but volcanos blow their tops off, a white whale can introduce the story of Moby Dick, and so on...

And so forth...


Charles Cameron

With thanks and acknowledgment to Ken Cowan for help in Educational Game development.


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HipBone Games rules, boards, sample games and other materials are copyright (c) Charles Cameron 1995, 96, 97. See Concerning Copyright for full copyright details.