Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Employing the Easter Egg

The other day I was thinking about gamification -specifically, how to apply game elements to education - and I remembered how I "tricked" my nephew into reading. He was at the cusp of reading a few sentences independently, but he was stubborn. He did not want to try to sound out words on his own.

I devised an Easter egg hunt with a difference. Instead of simply hiding chocolate eggs around the house, I bought some hollow plastic eggs that opened. Inside, I put a clue to the location of the next egg. With each egg, I included a small dollar store trinket.

I thought my nephew would have been more interested in the prizes, but instead he demonstrated that he was motivated by something intrinsic instead. After he had found all of the eggs, he wanted to do the hunt all over again, with the clues only. There was something about finding the next piece to the puzzle that propelled him to keep on reading. He did not resist sounding out the words; in fact, he wanted to figure it out for himself.

This game continued for many years. Eventually, the clues turned into riddles to get him to predict and think more critically. Now a teen, he wouldn't say no if I offered to do an Easter egg hunt again.

Image credits:
Coloured Easter Eggs. Photography. Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 4 Oct 2013.http://quest.eb.com/images/156_2394411

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