Teach Through Games: Iota by Gamewright

Teach Through Games: Iota by Gamewright

Age level: Upper elementary, Middle school, High school
Description: First of all, this is one of the tiniest games you’ll ever find. The goal of this card game is to add cards to a grid, making sure that color, shape, and number are either all the same or all different across the line. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, it’s definitely not as simple as it seems!
Skills & Modifications: The card game is designed in such a way that it makes use of a student’s visual performance, scanning, spatial reasoning, critical thinking, and categorizing skills. For some of my higher functioning students, I will play the game as designed. The instructions that come with the game offer the following variations: (1) for a short game, play with half the deck, and (2) for younger children, ignore scoring. I would add to that list (3) for younger children or lower-functioning learners create one line at a time (instead of a larger grid.)

  • Alike & Different – Even if you are using one of the variations listed above, it is a good idea to have the student describe what is alike and different about each row. This is a great way to practice because there are only three areas in which each card can be alike or different: color, shape, and number. For students who need it, I may have a visual or textual reminder of those three areas to help them with descriptions, but I try to fade those reminders very quickly.
  • Scanning – For higher-order scanning, I will put out as few as three cards and up to 12 cards with instructions to “point to a card that is red” or “find a triangle”, or to make it more difficult “show me a blue circle.” Based on the child’s skill level, I do not line up the cards in a row to practice this skill, but put them in a messy array on the table, floor, or playing surface.
  • Critical Thinking – As I mentioned before, this game is designed to practice a multitude of skills. I think of putting all those skills together to come up with solutions to problems can be described as critical thinking. The game does this when played by the rules. You can also do it by placing three cards, then having an array of possibilities for completing the line. Having the student place the correct card to finish the line, then describe why it is the correct card is another way to work on critical thinking skills.

Pros: I do like the simple design of the cards. It’s especially great for our students who may struggle to process information when the picture is too cluttered. I also appreciate the strategy aspect of this game: it’s easy enough for most children over the age of 7 or 8 to play, but as they child grows so does their capacity to develop strategies for winning the game.
Cons: While I love the game, for some students who have deficits in motor skills, picking up these cards can be difficult and may decrease motivation in the game.
Cost: $9.99 Should I buy this? This is a great game for visual skills. Because it is easy to modify for a variety of age & skill levels, I think it is a good purchase.

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