In A Pickle with Students from Grade 3

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Today, students in Grade 3 learned how to play a card game called In a Pickle. This game involves working with abstract and concrete nouns, and determining which nouns are “bigger” and “smaller” than others (distinctions that can also be understood in both concrete and abstract terms). For instance, if one of the cards on the table displayed the word “pickle,” a player would select one of his or her own cards and then either place it on top of “pickle” if their noun could conceivably fit inside a pickle (smaller), or behind “pickle” if their noun could conceivably contain a pickle (larger).

Other players can then continue to play their own cards on the table in this manner, or they can challenge each other’s assertions. This is where the game becomes interesting, as the player being challenged is allowed to give a one-sentence justification of his or her choice, and the rest of the players then vote on whether or not the card should stay in play.

An example from today’s game to help clarify how this might work occurred when one student attempted to place a card displaying the word “advertisement” behind a card on the table that displayed the word “museum.” Other players challenged this assertion (that an advertisement could be larger than a museum), and the student who played the card gave the following justification: “An advertisement can be all over the world.” (While this explanation was enough to change a few players’ minds, the move was ultimately voted down by a narrow margin.)

This game is a great activity to help stretch students’ thinking from the concrete realm to the abstract! Thanks to Nancy for donating the game to the Lower Elementary classroom.

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