Chemistry Housie! (Fun Chemistry -Part 1)

These games were devised when I and Juliet Miranda, my first boss (!) and Head of Dept, Chemistry, Royal College, Mumbai, had to conduct a summer vacation course for 8-11 year old kids for learning Chemistry! Now, teaching Chemistry in higher secondary school or college is totally different as compared to taking a “fun chemistry” course. I have conducted “fun chemistry” courses earlier where the kids actually made products like a toothpaste and more using simple chemicals you find at home! The older kids would make incense, phenyl and lot more and even sell them! Some management lessons there! But this was different!

Firstly, it had to be done online. Secondly, I wanted them to move around in the house. I didn’t want them glued to the screen. Coming from educational technologist, let me tell you, it is cruel to make a child sit glued at one place for more than 20 mins, leave alone glued to a screen! Thirdly, their knowledge of chemistry would be only limited to knowing a few metals, non metals and an idea of atoms and molecules. So, developing suitable activities was a challenge and that was exactly what was interesting! And we developed 8 games!

So sharing with you a very popular game that we enjoyed with the kids! HOUSIE! Chem-Housie. ONLINE!

Read on on how it is played.

Material required: Paper and pen/pencil at each person’s end. Yeah! That’s it!

How many people can play? Group game! Even in large numbers!

Preparing the housie card:

  1. Make a grid as shown
  2. You may vary the grid. There is no hard and fast rules we are sticking to as long as you enjoy. Preferably a rectangular grid with more columns than rows.

Preparation (1 day prior)

  1. In case of online game, specially, show them/ask the players to download the grid and make one at their end.
  2. Select a list of elements suitable to the age of the group and the group size. We had chosen 20 elements for a bunch of 35 kids. It is better to give the list of elements with their properties if the kids are younger and have very limited knowledge of properties of elements, like in our groups. For older kids, hah! they better dive into the textbooks!
  3. Ask them to write elements in random order in the places denoted by alphabets in the ticket.
  4. Some places will be left blank

How to play?

  1. Check the tickets created before you start the game.
  2. The teller/conductor of the game creates tokens/ chits having an element symbol on each of the token/chit.
  3. All the tokens/chits are kept in a small pouch or a box so that they can be shuffled blindly.
  4. The teller/ conductor should preferably write down funny ways to call out properties of these elements. The properties have to be called out so that the players identify which element is being spoken off.
  5. Once the player identifies the element, the element is struck off in his/her housie ticket.
  6. The teller then moves to the next token/chit
  7. This process takes like a minute.
  8. Do not spend much time in the interval. You need the players to be glued to the housie!
  9. There are multiple categories of “winners” We had chosen four of them. Jaldi three (quick 3) where the player who gets to strike off three elements fastest, is the winner. Four corners: When a player is able to strike off elements at four corners of his/her ticket. Bull’s eye: When the element called out by the teller is in the central position of the housie ticket. Full housie– When all the elements are struck off. Remember that there is no fixed order which category will be first met/achieved.
  10. As soon as any category is met with, the player shouts the category that is achieved.
  11. After winners of one category are identified, that category is no more played for and now the play will resume for the other categories.

Note: The fun is in:

  1. randomization of tickets. So, leave enough room for randomization
  2. the unpredictability of elements that pop up
  3. The way in which the properties are called out. The teller should be very creative and spontaneous and energetic. It is much more than calling out and reading the chits. This is the engine of enthusiasm. Remember!

Go on! Enjoy the Housie. It is also called as Tambola by some.

Learn while you play!

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