Age level: Middle School, High School
Description: Pitch It! is one of my favorite discoveries since I started this blog. I was hooked after my first turn, when I had to figure out an idea for selling swimsuits to Eskimos. Not only does the game include materials that can be used for teaching a variety of skills in a motivating way, but when played as designed it is a fun game that engages older learners as well as adults.
In this game there are two decks of cards, a Who? (are you selling to) deck and a What? (are you pitching) deck. For example, you may draw “Firefighters” from the Who? deck and “Coffee Makers” from the What? deck. All the teams try to figure out how to sell coffee makers to firefighters. Each team creates a name for the product, comes up with a slogan, and creates a logo before pitching it to the other teams. After all teams have presented, everyone votes on the best ideas which are rewarded with money. The first team to win $5,000,000 wins the game.
Skills & Modifications: The open-ended nature allows for you to play with few modifications to meet the needs of many students. However, there are some modifications I make to introduce the game to learners who are not yet ready to play it as designed. The first modification I make is to remove the timed aspect or use a different timer so all players have a longer period of time to generate ideas. A second modification I make is to remove the drawing portion for learners who struggle with grasping a pencil or accurately drawing their ideas. A third modification I make for some learners is playing a game I call “What’s Best” in which I choose a group of people and three products, then the learner has to tell me which product would sell best for that group of people and why. Finally, for some learners I make it a 2 player cooperative game where we just use the two decks of cards and work together to come up with ideas. Below are the skills necessary for playing the game.
- Critical Thinking – Many times learners will pull two cards that seem unrelated. The game requires that they think carefully about ways to connect a specific group of people and an item.
- Adjectives – This game is a great tool for practicing using adjectives in meaningful ways. For learners that rely on a small repertoire of adjectives, this can provide motivation to increase the repertoire in order to better “sell” their ideas.
- Art – For learners who are motivated by drawing, this game is great. I have one learner in particular who loves to draw. While he struggled with generating ideas, he was motivated to do so in order to draw the concept. He also loved presenting his drawings to the other groups, which was a great avenue for practicing expressive language skills.
- Expressive Language – One of the reasons that this game has quickly become a favorite is that it offers many opportunities to practice expressive language in age-appropriate ways. Because the game is open-ended it’s very easy to meet your learner at their current skill level and work towards goals in a way that is motivating for him/her.
- Humor – I can always get behind a game that makes my learners laugh, and this is definitely one of those. For several of my students, they would start to get the giggles in anticipation before even choosing two cards from the decks.
- Intraverbal Conversation – This is a skill that can be practiced when working in groups to create slogans, logos, etc. The game is designed in such a way that the learners will get practice on every turn with novel conversation, something that can be difficult to find opportunities for.
- Listening – Many of the learners I work with struggle to listen to others’ ideas and build off of them. This game provides a unique way to practice this skill.
- Playing with speed/Quick Responding – There is a timer included in the game that requires players to generate and execute ideas within three minutes. One modification I do make with some groups is to remove the timer or use a phone timer to provide adequate time for the particular learners playing.
- Teamwork/Siblings/Peer Play – While I modify this game for some learners so that we’re playing as individuals, this is a great game for building teamwork skills. It’s also a fun game for incorporating siblings or typically developing peers.
- Money/Addition – When played as designed, teams earn money based on the votes of the other teams. It’s a motivating way to practice money and addition skills. For learners who may not do well with such large amounts of money or who need practice with more common amounts of money, I change the amount needed to win the game and use play money with smaller bills.
- Summarizing – Part of pitching the product is succinctly summarizing the concept in an interesting but informative way to the other teams. Some learners may require specific steps or visual cues for this process.
- Public speaking – Lastly, this is a highly motivating way for our learners to practice effectively communicating ideas to groups.
Pros: I have not seen another game like this. It provides unique opportunities to practice several skills for older learners. It’s also a game I enjoy playing with friends just as much as I do with students. And I love that this game was designed by a teacher!
Cons: Nothing! This is a must-have game if you are working with middle school, high school, or even college students; or if you’re looking for a game the whole family will enjoy.
Cost: $24.00 (including shipping and handling) You should invest in this game if: you’re looking for high-interest materials to engage older learners, you’re seeking unique ways to practice conversation and language skills, or you need materials to encourage group interactions within your classroom or family.
ABLLS: F26, F28, H32, H33, H42, H49, K13, L32, L33, L34, R23, R24, R25, R26
VB-MAPP: Social Behavior 13, Social Behavior 15, Intraverbal 11, Intraverbal 14
**Pitch It! was provided to me for free by the creator of the game to write about here. This did not influence my opinions on the game. The thoughts and ideas above are all my own.