In the box you'll find a whole bunch of cards with 'connection' words on them: High Five, Happy Salmon and Fish Bump. The picture above includes one 'set' of these connection cards - there are three of these sets in the box. (There are also a whole bunch of 'Switch It Up' cards - you won't need these for this activity - but you'll need them to play the actual Happy Salmon game which is loads of fun). Also, notice in the set of cards there are eight different shapes and eight different colors - the connection words, shapes and colors make up this one set. Now for some math!
One last thing we did with each sub-set of 12 cards. We took out two cards - each card had completely different characteristics. For example, one would have a 'Happy Salmon' that was a 'Blue' 'Circle' card, the other was a 'Fish Bump' that was a 'Green' 'Triangle.' These difference make the activity a bit more challenging (we think). The best thing to do (we discovered) is to then put these two 'missing' cards in a small envelop, then place the other 10 cards on top of the envelope and rubber band the cards and envelop together so you have a little pack for each group of eight to ten players.
Here's another way to prep the cards if you want to work with one group of up to 22 players (I'm imagining this would be super challenging). Let's say you have 11 to 13 players. Use the first five rows of a card set (like the ones to the right), take out two completely different cards (say the High Five Yellow Five-Pointed Star and the Light Blue Fish Bump Circle), stick them in an envelope - you're ready for 11 to 13 players.
Once you've sorted out the cards you'll be using, get your group together. Here's a sample introduction:
"This envelope [show them the envelop] contains two cards from a set of cards. Here are the other cards from the set [hold up the small deck of cards that go with the envelope]. In a moment I'm going to deal out the cards you'll be working with. On the face of these cards you'll notice some fish performing some handshake-type connections - there are three of these connections. Each of you will receive one card, some of you will receive two. Once you get your card, or cards, you will not be allowed to show anyone what's on the face of your card - you can't show your fish. Once I start dealing out the cards, you will not be able to verbally communicate with each other or write anything down or take a picture of what's on the face of your card. If you are willing to work with two cards please raise your hand when I ask for volunteers. When you receive your card, or cards, you will notice there is a color around the border of the card and a small shape in two of the card's corners. Your challenge will be to determine the fish handshake-type connection, the color and the shape of each card in the envelope - again, without talking."
Ask for questions from the group. Be sure not to solve an of the problems they most likely will encounter. I also think it's fair to explain what a 'set' is. My usual examples: A deck of cards - it has equal patterns of suits and ranks. A chess set has two colors, each color has the same number and types of pieces - if you take two pieces from a chess set and looked at the remaining pieces, you will be able to determine what's missing. Same idea with the 'fish' cards.
Based on what the group knows, before you deal out the cards, give them some time to formulate some process ideas before switching off their voices. When ready, deal out the cards and turn them loose to work it out.
When your group (or a group, if you're working with more than one) believes they know what's on their 'missing' cards, they are allowed to speak and 'show-and-tell' you their answer. Then, hand the envelope to one of the players to open up and reveal.
Here's the interesting factor of this challenge (full transparency), Trevor and I did not notice until the day of our workshop that the 'color' of each card is shown on the back of each card. AND, we didn't notice this until after we played, the shape of each card is also on the back (see right). This was brought up after play by one of the groups, and some of the groups never discovered these facts. We thought the activity was a bust.
Some of our initial groups really struggled with the task, taking twice as long as some of the other groups who discovered the colors and shapes on the back. (And one of the interesting discussions we had was about why those groups did not share this information, non-verbally, with other groups.) So, we think there is value in this fishy challenge. (And it's really super-fun and peaceful to watch all the pantomiming - a great video opportunity.)
If you take a dive into this one, please let us know how it goes! Leave us a Comment below.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.