Ready to join a learning revolution? You’ll have to break a few eggs…
In March of 2018, I tweeted a short video of a teacher training activity where we used plastic eggs to transform any old worksheet into a high energy review. To my total surprise, THE VIDEO WENT VIRAL, picking up 65K+ views in less than 3 days time! And teachers everywhere couldn’t wait to join in the fun. So we turned the plastic egg pick’em activity into a worldwide hashtag, and are inviting classrooms everywhere to play along!
Got a bunch of plastic eggs kicking around in your attic or garage?
Join the #EDrenaline Rush #EggDashCallenge!
Here’s how to play!
1. Take any normal worksheet with review questions.
2. Cut the sheet into slips.
3. Hide those slips in plastic eggs.
— John Meehan (@MeehanEDU)
Any classroom. Any age. Any lesson.
- Students work in teams with 4-5 classmates in desk groups.
- Place the “Egg Pile” in the center of the room.
- Start a timer on the overhead board. Highest point total by the end wins!
- Make sure to number your questions!
- Keep things safe by reminding teams that they are ONLY allowed to solve questions while seated with their desk group (no “texting and driving,” so to speak).
- Consider revealing hidden point values at the very end of your game, which adds an awesome element surprise.
To Join the Fun:
- Capture 30 seconds or so of real-time video of your classes doing the Egg Dash Challenge (just like the video above)!
- Post your video to social media using the hashtags #EggDashChallenge and #EDrenaline.
- It’d be super cool if you followed me on Twitter @MeehanEdu! And when you post your video, CHALLENGE A FRIEND TO JOIN THE FUN !
Saw this tweet last night and was totes excited. Sent email at 7:15 am to my colleagues to see if anyone had any eggs lying around that they didn’t need. At 8:13 am @BagoMSAP showed up in my room with this box. I am set to go & plenty to share! Woohoo! #gratitude #bagopride pic.twitter.com/f0Ty3a6TTI
— tlkast 🦋 (@TraceyKast) March 22, 2019
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
- Can I use something other than plastic eggs?
YES! We’ve had teachers using everything from plush Fortnite Loot Llamas, plastic test tubes, brown paper bags, good old fashioned envelopes. You name it!
- Can this work in my content area?
You betcha! If you’re teaching something like literature and poetry, consider providing students with a printed copy of the text, numbering certain items throughout the piece, and then having students solve for the numbered items as they draw numbered prompts from the plastic eggs. The activity is super flexible.
- Can I throw in a few other surprises?
Big time! Consider loading some eggs with a freebie bonus item (+5 points, draw 2 next time, etc.), or a troublemaking penalty (like no question and just -5 points, etc.).
- How long should this activity last?
Totally up to you! Nobody knows the unique needs of your kids and your classroom better than you do — so go with your gut. Five minutes works great for my students, but this could easily scale up or down according to your needs.
Some Things to Keep In Mind:
In all of the excitement, there were a handful of teachers who expressed some concern about certain elements of the activity that weren’t quite captured in the 30 second video, so I wanted to take a moment to offer a bit more clarity and encourage you to do the same. Turns out that viral videos can be great at conveying excitement, but they do have a tendency to fall short in the world of nuance:
- CONSENT MATTERS.
The original video was filmed as part of a totally voluntary teacher training day, where participants signed up in advance to “test drive” games and game-inspired pedagogy with an outside speaker (me). We began the activity by making informed consent a clear point of emphasis, and I implore all teachers to do the same in their own schools or classrooms — especially if they’re planning to capture the event on video. Nobody should ever be “forced” to take part in a physical activity.
- ABLEISM IS UNCOOL.
Our training day welcomed 70 teachers of varying ages and experience levels, and featured educators in their 20s and others in their 70s. The relay race element adds some kinesthetic life to the event, but each team could select their own “runner” (or choose a different runner for each round). Folks unable, uncomfortable, or unwilling to race are still equal members of their teams! And all are learners are welcome and encouraged to help provide answers when their teammate returns to the desk group.
- SCAFFOLDING WORKS.
After the activity was over, we discussed different ways that teachers could consider scaffolding this activity in order to add more complexity, strategy, and choice. Color coding questions of varying degrees of difficulty in differently colored shells, for example, is an “egg-celent” way to reward curiosity over random luck.
- THERE’S SO MUCH MORE TO GAMIFICATION.
Finally, I think it’s important to note that the egg race you see in the video was merely an after-lunch icebreaker to help everyone settle back in for the afternoon. This simple egg race was just a very small part of an 8 hour exploration of educational research and the “whys” behind game design — and folks needed a breather to get back into the day after a full morning of educational theory and hands-on play testing with more comprehensive pedagogical approaches like #QRBreakIN, Text Quest — the scope of which can often seem a bit daunting for newcomers to the world of gamification. Likewise, we’d just spent the morning diving deep into some pretty heady waters of motivational psychology, with lots of new information to process all at once from the seminal works of Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (Flow State), Dutch historian Johan Huizinga (The Magic Circle), 20th century French theorist Roger Caillois, Polish philosopher Josef Pieper, Italian school reformer Maria Montessori, and their modern education contemporaries such as 21st century Stanford educator Carol Dweck (Growth Mindset), Yale University critic and historian Sara Lewis, PhD, American author and game designer Jane McGonical, PhD, British MMORPG gaming pioneer Richard Bartle, PhD, Elon University professor Tony Weston, and Cornell professor Thomas Gillovich. In short, there are many levels to gamification! But sometimes the brain just needs a break.
Make It Your Own:
The basic #EggDashChallenge is designed for quick and easy implementation in any course or content area. But don’t feel limited by the basic gameplay! Here are some AMAZING examples of teachers who are “plussing” the activity to take the game to a whole new level. So if you’ve got a hack or variant of your own that you’d like to share, hit me up on Twitter (@MeehanEDU)!
— Sarah Ventresco (@SVentresco1456) March 22, 2019
Really digging the idea of timed, scored rounds. And the video is AMAZING! Hear the energy and the student choice? SOOO. COOL.
So my class just started a new “Quest For Dragon Bone” Room 1 of the Quest will be crawling with ‘dragon eggs’. Review strips in most eggs, but one egg will have one of the Dragon Bone dice in it! Thanks for sharing! pic.twitter.com/erbbNkt5cq
— Will Carlson (@MrCarlsonsClass) March 22, 2019
This is a brilliant example of how a little splash of creative theming can elevate a simple review activity into a more cohesive and immersive classroom experience. Outstanding work! Here’s another that adds a theme to take the game to a whole new level:
— Teresa Kelm (@ccstarfleet) March 24, 2019
Amazing. Can’t wait to see the video! Keep in mind that theming isn’t the only part of the base activity that teachers can tinker with to customize this game for their classrooms. Here’s some fantastic insight from a big time classroom gamification pro friend with some outstanding tips on how to push the pedagogy one step further!
John – let me lead by saying I’m a big fan of your ideas and materials. Quick thought on this one – it needs more meaningful choices. Right now grabbing random eggs doesn’t appeal to the gamer in me. What about separate baskets of eggs based on question difficulty perhaps?
— Jonathan Spike (@Mr_JSpike) March 23, 2019
More difficult baskets have higher odds of more points.
Another idea: students anwser the question and then write their own higher order question and put it IN the now-empty egg and return to basketball. If other team draws it and fails to answer effectively, other team steals.
— Jonathan Spike (@Mr_JSpike) March 23, 2019
Love, love, love this two part tweet from Jon Spike — who pushes the pedagogy even further by adding new layers of strategy, scaffolding, and choice. My wheels are spinning!
After the #gamification training this past week with @MeehanEDU I look at games with my son in a whole new way! Fishing game: number the bottom of the fish and coordinate the numbers with a worksheet. Kids go fishing and then complete work as a group! pic.twitter.com/8XMqb6NDiA
— Holly Cooke (@mrscookereads) March 24, 2019
This post from Holly Cooke proves how versatile basic game mechanics can be. You don’t even need eggs! OUTSTANDING work with incredible cross-content application. Once you start to see inside the gamification Matrix, there really is no limit to all the game-changing things we can do in our classrooms. I’m blown away by the creativity.
Keep ’em coming, folks! And have a blast with this infinitely adaptable classroom activity.