Age level: Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School
Description: This series of card games from Professor Noggin is fantastic! Each deck is well-designed, contains beautiful illustrations, and has two different levels of questions so a wide range of learners can enjoy the activity. My favorite thing about these
card games, though, is that I can choose a topic of high interest to my learner to get them motivated to play, then generalize game play to other topics once they have mastered and enjoyed the game with their favorite topic. To learn more about all the topics they have, click here. The game includes a die, which the player rolls to determine which question from the card will be answered.
Skills & Modifications: Because the game comes with two levels, there aren’t any modifications that need to be made. The game instructions state to choose the level everyone will be playing, but I usually choose individualized levels based on each learner’s age/skill. So I’ll assign green players and blue players to determine levels. This provides opportunity to play the game with learners of varying ages and skill levels, and allows the game to grow with your learners.
Taking Turns – For learners who are highly motivated by the subject area, this is a great game to teach higher level skill with taking turns. I modify the game to be a simple turn-taking game to practice this skill both in 1:1 instruction as well as with groups of 3-4 players. Waiting until your turn to answer a question is a challenge for many of our learners, and this game provides a clear structure and visual indicators (such as “the person rolling the dice is the one who answers) to practice the skill.
Peer Play – Because this game is already set up for multiple levels of play, it’s an excellent choice for peer play, especially when a family is trying to play with siblings of different ages or skill levels. The game also requires all players to ask and answer questions, so it’s a great opportunity for learners who struggle in this area to engage in practicing those skills in a fun, motivating way. Again, here it is important to choose a topic that is highly motivating to your learner.
Flexibility – Sometimes the player rolls a number that corresponds with a “Noggin’s Choice” icon on the card. This means that the player gets to choose a card from the player of his/her choice. For some learners it’s difficult to accept this aspect of the game. Depending on my specific goals for each learner, I sometimes change “Noggin’s Choice” to mean that the card reader gets to choose which question to ask.
Pros: I love that there are so many topic areas to choose from. It makes it easy for me to find something my learners can engage with and be excited about. The artwork and the questions in all of the deck are very well done.
Cons: I don’t have any cons for this game, but it is important to note that this is not an appropriate choice if your learner cannot read or is not able to communicate novel sentences and responses.
Ideas for extending the lesson: Let your learners become Professor Noggin! They can choose a topic they are very interested in and create some of their own game cards. Roll the dice and play the game they’ve created!
A second way to extend the lesson is to have your learner(s) suggest a topic from Professor Noggin. Click here to see how to make a request from the professor, as well as to view examples of previous suggestions that were turned into card games.
Cost: varies, most cost $9.99 You should invest in this game if: you have learners who enjoy trivia and/or memorizing facts, you are a classroom teacher (there are so many topics that one or more of these card games can be a great addition to almost any classroom,) or you are seeking games that can be played for multiple skill levels.
ABLLS: H44, H47, H49, J18, K15
VB-MAPP: Mand 15, Social Behavior and Social Play 15
**Four versions of Professor Noggin’s Card Games were provided to me for free by the company Outset Media to write about here. This did not influence my opinions on the game. The thoughts and ideas above are all my own.