I am in a high school in San Jose, CA and have a mix of 9-12 grade students in the 3 classes that I teach this. The class is comprised of students from the highest achieving at the school to the lowest.
The lesson went generally well as written.
The warm up didn’t get me the varied responses that I really wanted but students had fun writing and responding to the prompt. They were really into telling me about all of the slang that is used, whether it was a joke or not. I did not get really anything but this from the students. I guess I did not do a good job of explaining that it could be hand signals, or any other thing that you could think of.
Anyway, the wrap up of the warm up, getting to the point that the yes/no is really just arbitrary and could be anything as long as everyone knew they rules came together well. We did have a fun conversation of why yes is a head nod and no is a head shake. Well, the cavemen….
I learned in the first couple of classes that student did not understand what to or broke the rules. Students wanted to turn the cards sideways or to have them turned over to be the back of the card.
I began to demonstrate to the classes what a singe stack of cards meant. “Your finished product should look like…” This helped the student to understand what they were to produce.
I did not have the students switch between groups when they were ready with a word to decode. I had them raise their hands and have me come over to decode. This way, I could try and break their solution and give them some gentle to moderate help to get to a solution.
Timing wise, this worked well. Some students finished a first try quickly and other teams took a lot longer. Most groups needed more than one try to get a working solution.
Main mistakes that students made.
1. The code for each letter was not unique.
2. They did not use a set number of cards for each letter without using a certain animal as a decimeter between letters.
The two main ways that I think there is a solution
1. Have the same number of cards per each letter.
2. Have a card to be the delimiter between letters. That way you can use a different number of cards per each letter.
I did add a wrap up discussing the two types of solutions and asked whether they thought that computers used the same number of cards per each letter or a delimiter. That was a fun discussion.