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Showcasing Mona Grayson and "Valentine Battleship"

"Valentine Battleship was a huge success!" reported Mona Grayson. "Not only was it a really fun way to practice what we were learning in math, it also acknowledged that it was a holiday and that there was excitement in the air."

As a full-time teacher at Acreage Pines Elementary and Frontier Elementary in Palm Beach County, Florida, Grayson was always on the lookout for opportunities to integrate timely subjects and topics with regular classroom activities. When her class was studying how to plot points and coordinates, she immediately thought of the children's game Battleship -- and added a holiday twist!

"Because I didn't have the resources to buy or get my hands on 16 sets of the real game, I decided to make my own -- and I definitely had an abundance of conversation hearts around Valentine's Day!" Grayson told Education World.

In her version of the game, students sit in pairs. Each student conceals his or her workspace with a privacy folder, and secretly places six conversation hearts at intersections on a grid labeled A-G on the bottom (x-axis) and 1-8 on the left side (y-axis). Then, students take turns guessing in (x,y) format the location of the hearts. If a "hit" is made, the successful guesser takes the conversation heart and guesses again. If a guess is incorrect, the player crosses off the incorrect coordinate and the other player takes a turn. The winner is the first to collect his or her opponent's six candies.

The first year Grayson introduced the game, she used traditional Battleship rules and the students spoke their guesses. The room got loud very quickly, so a few minutes into the activity she changed the rules to require written guesses and never had a problem with noise level again.

"My students loved writing down their guesses because it's different than in the regular Battleship game where the guesses get called out loud," said Grayson. "I saw lots of smiles as they passed the sheets back and forth to each other to see if they were right. I never heard any complaints or disagreements from the kids as they played."

"I walked around to monitor how the students were doing and to make sure everyone had hearts on the lines and not in the spaces," Grayson recalled. "I also wanted to be positive that they were writing the coordinates in (letter, number) or (x,y) format on their papers when they make their guesses. It was a great reinforcement for previous lessons."

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Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
Copyright © 2005 Education World


Updated 01/23/2009