I know that's a tall order so in the second part of this post I briefly discuss my reasoning, pose a few lingering questions and then ask for feedback.
Part One: Basic Flow of the Game
The idea for this new game started with a picture:
|Photo via: http://www.fotomat.es/arte-combinatorio/|
Make/build a rule. Find a way to change it.
These are the game pieces. Set 1 includes two shapes, four colors. Set 2 includes six shapes and six colors.
Rule Change #1: Make a rule/pattern. Using the same shapes/colors how can you make the next iteration different from the first. Does order matter? How many different combinations can you make?
Rule Change #2: Make a rule/pattern. Change one element of each shape to make a new pattern. For example, orange turns into red, or square turns into circle. For each new design change only one variable for each piece. How many times can you change the rule? How many new rules/patterns can you make from your starter rule? Can you ever get back to the original rule/pattern?
Rule Change #3: Build your pattern then reflect the design. What do you have to do differently when you build the reflected pattern?
But what happens if you only use one color and shape?
How many combinations can you make using three of one shape and one other shape? Would it change things if each of those circles were different colors?
On another line of questioning, what larger design can you make by building your design line by line using the same shapes/colors in each line?
Part Two: Thoughts and Questions
Even though Part One seems like a lesson flow, it's really meant to be more of a general framework for exploration. My intent was to provide a little structure, some basic 'rules' and a lot of room for inquiry.
I'm wondering if it really feels like a game, or is more of an activity? If it's going to feel more game-like, does it need more structure? A timer? Some 'change your rule' cards? Or, maybe, some cards that say how many different attributes to use in the pattern? How many different rules would be enough to create a sense of chance? What other 'change rules' would you include?
Based on trying this out with my own kid this morning, if you were to do this more as an activity/lesson perhaps it would be helpful to have some really easy starter examples, like all one color, or two different colors to get the ball rolling in a positive direction. I asked my daughter to build a pattern with three pieces but then gave her the 'change rule'. She didn't really like that and we left it there. The game pieces and board are still out, though, hanging around. I'll see if she wanders back over.
Questions I still have include: When combining or creating permutations, how much does the second attribute matter? For example, this first design (two colors, one shape) looks like it combines in exactly the same way as the second design (two colors, two shapes):
Another one of my goals for this game/activity was to also explore the ideas of attributes/variables in design -- how well do you think it does that? I intentionally did not use pattern blocks -- only one attribute/thing to change -- and instead made my own (Set 1). What would pull the attribute/variable idea out a little further?
I hope it's clear that I am hoping to dig into the brain trust that is my modest but wonderful readership. That means you by the way, so please if you have any thoughts about all this, I'd love to hear your ideas.
Things I would love feedback on: key ideas about combinations/permutations at the elementary level, thoughts about the game structure, ideas for other 'rule changers' to add into the mix, and any other thoughts you may have. Thank you!!
p.s. If you want to leave a comment but don't see the comment section below, please consider refreshing this post or closing the post altogether and come back. This template has some bugs. If you don't see a green-lettered header and/or the page menu at the top, then chances are the template did not fully load. Sorry for the hassle.