This unplugged activity is designed for use with either the card game “Snake Oil” by Gamewright or your own set of random words.
I originally designed it as an activity to teach brainstorming and collaboration skills, introduce roles, and encourage creative thinking. It’s also a great game to keep on hand for kids (and adults) to play.
Note: While this is a kid’s game, I recommend previewing the words and characters and removing any cards that you think may inspire inappropriate ideas. I teach high schoolers so I had to remove some.
I introduce it by showing five random cards on the projector along with the “customer,” which could be a teacher or student. I then invite the students to choose two words and come up with a Snake Oil product to pitch to me. It results in a fun group discussion and the students start to notice that they interpret the word combinations differently or elaborate on another student’s idea.
Then I group everyone, have them decide on roles (listed in the assignment) and give one sheet per group. I also provide a chart on the assignment to help them brainstorm by looking at different variations of words. The only rule is that the word cannot repeat, but I let them use more than two. They can also come up with a company name, product name, and take it as far as they want.
This assignment could also be incorporated into a larger assignment (i.e., website, app, game, commercial, etc.).