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Adapting Apples to Apples to Classroom - Paper Example

7 pages
1855 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
Research paper
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Courses: Interpersonal Communication, Intercultural Communication, Cross-Cultural Communication, Public Speaking, Persuasive, Language And Culture, Etc.

Objectives: as a single class action, the aims of this assignment are to;

I.Create a situation for students to learn by playing games

Ii.Build connections between the contents of the cards a student has and that chosen by the judge.

Iii.Learn to convince the judge by fast thinking and reasoning.

Iv.Experience new things in a different culture.

V.Make decisions based on what the players present.

This activity can be completed in an hour or longer depending on the preparation made and the time of the activity. Alternatively, the instructor could introduce the preparation process to the students and ask the students to prepare after class and bring the materials to the next class so that half an hour will be enough for this activity.

Introduction and rationale

Co-design approach has been applied to promote innovative projects and programs, in all these applications, the programs were with very promising outcomes (Robinson, Lind, & Forsgren, 2007). In the application of co-design approach, a greater concern in engaging consumers and other associates in cooperative design have been observed (Vaajakallio & mattelmaki, 2014). Participants from distinct disciplines and cultures often come to one classroom with pre-existing designs of work events and diverse knowledge. When they are asked to complete one task, they need to explore their knowledge and collaborate to make decisions (Sonnenwald, 1996). (Chaney & Bulk, 1998) describe speaking as the procedure of building and distribution meaning by using oral and non-oral signs in several frameworks. Thus, in a classroom context, where students have collaborative tasks, a co-design approach can promote communication and foster speaking (Contreras gutierrez & Corzo, 2014).

This paper aims to provide a single class activity that requires joint work among different groups of students in order to design a card game for playing in the second phase. Overall, collaboration and persuasion are two key communication factors to be cultivated during the process. Classroom communication that advocates for interactions and cultural exchange is vital, not only do students learn in the process, but also do they get a chance to be heard (Pawlak, Bielak, & Mystkowska-Viertel, 2013). The cards can be prepared in such a way that adjusts to the various teaching purposes; from having fun to doing course review.

The activity

Apples to apples is a party game for several players (usually four to eight players). In this game, there is a judge, who is chosen by the players. This judge has a certain green card, while the rest have the same number of cards as the judge, only that the players cards are red in color. The rule is that the player picks one of his /her red cards, which he/she thinks is greatest designated by the green card which was then played by the judge. All the players will then play a card that each thinks perfectly fits the judges description. The player will win the round if his card is picked by the judge.

This game can be adapted to serve as a single class activity to facilitate inter-personal communication and reasoning. For special purpose of communication on specific topics, a few variations will be adjusted in class.

Preps for the activity

To prepare for this activity, the teacher and students will first have apples to apples cards available. This can be found on the market or the teacher and the class can make their own cards in cases where these cards are not at hand. Additionally, the teacher and the students can make their cards if they would like to create their own cards for specific purposes as described in the debriefing. The following outlines the steps necessary to make the apple to apple cards for a class activity.

(i)first, prepare green and red cards that are rough of poker size. The more cards, the better. Usually, the red cards are seven times more than the green cards.

(ii)second, brainstorm and write down on the cards various words and expressions without repetition.

words and expressions applied on green cards are usually adjectives and adverbs, like colorful, scary, sensitive, and twisted, etc.

red cards always carry a wide variety of nouns, noun phrases or similar expression including things, places, names, events, like guns, Amazon, dating, global warming, unemployment, Taylor Swift, Einstein and so on. Place the red cards and green cards separately.

Carrying out the activity

First, divide the class into groups. Make sure there are enough cards for each group. There are no restrictions on the number of group members. (four to eight is an optimal range).the activity can be carried out simultaneously in different groups. (the player who collects four green cards by making the best combinations wins.)

Second, choose a player in the group to be among those judges that were first. Apparently, the arbiter distributes 5 red cards; look down, to each group member (comprising the judge himself or herself). Performers may look at their own cards. The arbiter then draws a green card, reads aloud the word on it.

Third, all the group members (excluding the judge) choose from their hands the red card that they think is best described by the words on the green card. Fourth, each player takes turns to read out what is on their card, places it on the table, explains why his card is the perfect match with the green card and tries to convince the judge to choose it. This is called table talk. It is one of the most important and hilarious parts of the activity. Red cards played will not be used again.

Fifth, the judge decides which red card is best would be used to describe the word and is represented on the green card after hearing all involved players explanation. However, the judge needs to provide his reasons for awarding a particular green card to a player who played the red card that has the best match. Apparently, Players often keep the available green cards that they have attained until the final stage of the game.

Sixth, the role of judge moves to the players who are found on the left. In essence, the new arbiter distributes red cards to make sure there are 5 cards on each players hand, draws another green card and the new round begins.


While it is okay to use the ready-made apple to apple cards, the cards preparation process offers a good opportunity to brainstorm on the contents on these cards. The contents cover a wide variety, thus providing the potential to give full play of imaginations. To avoid repetition, the teacher can assign the students to different groups, each taking in charge of a particular variety, like animals, plants, experiences, etc. The process also allows for discussions and collaboration. It would be better if the students are from different cultural backgrounds. In brainstorming places, great wall, Eiffel tower, or Madagascar is as possible as where the sun doesnt shine. It is also likely for maths lovers to write down Pythagorean theorem, formula one fanatics to include Michael Schumacher on the red card. In most cases, it wont cause any problem if there are occasional cards that go beyond the cognition of the players since they always have five red cards on their hands. Players will read different cards in a certain way during the activity.

The most significant and interesting part of the activity lies in the table talk. This, as said earlier in this paper, is when each player tries his best to convince the judge that his /her choice is the best match to the judges description. It is okay to play a red card that doesnt seem to be a perfect fit at first, as the win might be found on the players explanations.

At this stage, judges are not bound by any rules when they decide their favorite card. Primarily, they will often select the most creative, funniest or weirdest response, e.g. sexy computer hackers, wild big bang theory. So the best way for a player to win a green card is to play a card that he thinks the judge will like. In other words, this is about playing to the judges mindset. The judge may find lunchroom as more magical than David Copperfield , running out of toilet paper more unforgettable than my first date, a pencil more frail than duckling because the tip of a pencil breaks quite often.

However, it should be noted that players need to adjust their tactics quite often since they have a different judge in each round. What applied in the previous round may not suit for the new round. Moreover, both the players and the judge need to explain their reasons. Often, their explanations reflect some experiences of their own, unique thinking and particular logic that might be overlooked by others. The connection-building process is thought-provoking while the convincing part is argumentative.

The activity can be tailored to various needs. Take the cards-preparing process for example. While preparing the cards, some newly-learned concepts can be included. Such that when the students are playing, they interact with the classroom concepts. Whether players choose to play the card or deliberately avoid those concepts since they may be afraid the concepts may not be the perfect fit, the students will consciously or unconsciously review the concepts.


Apparently, students react extremely favorably to this activity. This is for the reason that they are amazed and amused at the hilarious combinations of words brought about by their peers. In most cases, the combinations tend to be conventional. At first, students are more likely to play the cards that seem to be the perfect match at first sight. Then gradually, they find out that the real secret of winning is to play to the mindset of the judge. In the process of convincing, they are forced to reason the connections between their cards and the green card. The table talk, which is the essence of this game, elicits story-telling that produces laughter and arguments. The judge too needs to be very attentive. He/she has to carefully listen to the dealers reasoning and come up with a solid and sound reason to justify his choice of awarding the green card to the dealer who strikes on him/her. Students in the class are often from diverse backgrounds and this activity provides a good opportunity for inter-personal communication and cross-cultural exchange.


Albinsson, L., Lind, M., & Forsgren, O. (2007). Co-Design: An Approach To Border Crossing, Network Innovation. Expanding The Knowledge Economy: Issues, Applications, Case Studies, 4(Part 2), 977-983.

Chaney, A. L., & Burk, T. L. (1998). Teaching Oral Communication In Grades K-8: ERIC.

Contreras Gutierrez, K., & Corzo, C. (2014). Enhancing Fluency In Speaking Through The Use Of Collaborative And Self-Directed Speaking Tasks.

Pawlak, M., Bielak, J., & Mystkowska-Wiertelak, A. (2013). Classroom-Oriented Research: Achievements And Challenges. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

Sonnenwald, D. H. (1996). Communication Roles That Support Collaboration During The Design Process. Design Studies, 17(3), 277-301.

Vaajakallio, K., & Mattelmaki, T. (2014). Design Games In Codesign: As A Tool, A Mindset And A Structure. Codesign, 10(1), 63-77. Doi:10.1080/15710882.2014.881886


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