# Elastic Scoring Methods

I call it elastic scoring because that’s the term used in video games where the computer gets harder when you’re kicking it’s ass and starts to suck when you’re getting blown away. What happens is every game is a close game with an exciting finish.

NBA Jam was like this (a pretty popular title that many of you may be familiar with.) OK, enough side story…

Basically, I’m look for a good way to keep score that keeps both teams feeling like they still have a chance to win, even down to the last couple moves. Just using “ticks” doesn’t cut it.

I tried doing something with dice, but that just had one team getting blown out.

I saw one thing that was pretty cool that a Chinese teacher did. There were teams, but instead of getting team points, people’s names were on each side of the board. Whenever a game was played the winner got to add a point to his name. At the end of the day, the team with the most cumulative points gets a score card thing (you know, for buying things from that toy case) and the person with the most points does as well.

That seemed interesting and different.

What I do is to simply make the point gains higher towards the end of the class, giving the team that is down a chance to recover. If it’s a big point gap, I might throw in a “Whoever gets this page of this book on their heads gets TEN POINTS!” Usually, there is a mad scramble to get said page on their heads for the TEN POINTS! It allows the team that is down to get some easy points and get competitive again. If the other team beats them, then it’s an honest win and I can’t really do much about it.

Here are a few ideas:

Individual & Team points- Give both individual and team points. You choose if a person gets the points, or if the team gets the points. If one team is far ahead, tend to give points to the individuals on that team and give it to the team when the team when the team that is far behind gets a point.

Caricatures- If you’re good at drawing, make some funny drawings on the side of the winning/losing team (depending on the nature of the drawing). You can draw parts of the picture instead of giving points and keep adding more interesting detail when one team is ahead.

Reset- Have a preset goal for something after which both scores are reset to zero. For example, first team to get to ten points gets a bonus of some sort. After that, both teams go back to zero and start working back towards the goal. If one side consistently loses you can alter it so that the losing team’s points are not reset.

Large numbers- Use large numbers that get bigger as the class continues. Start out by giving a hundred points for an answer, but by the end of the class give out 1000 points for a correct answer. (Same as a previous poster’s suggestion, but the large numbers disguise what you’re doing.) One more suggestion: write each score separately so that they can be erased individually for misbehavior. Don’t erase 100 and write 200 when a team scores again, write 100 and 100 below it.

Random reward- In addition to whatever team point system you are devising, allow for a random chance for a big reward. If you are issuing stamps or stickers, a double portion of stamps/stickers would be a good amount. The mechanism should be something like hitting a difficult target, getting “11” rolling two dice, etc. Then, even if a team is far behind there is still the individual incentive to get the reward.

Thanks!

Switch team members midway through.

Give each person a random number. Make sure there’s an equal number of the following kinds of matches: even vs. odd; multiples of 2, 3, 4, or 5; numbers with the number 1,3 or 5 in them; etc. Then when things are beginning to become a little lop-sided, call a time-out and call out the next grouping arrangement. You could even do it with words. Words that have a short vowel sound, words that have a silent letter in them, words that are nouns… The original sides would be the Team A and Team B and then when they switch teams they take the score of the other team.

Here’s something that worked out really well. Instead of points, there’s another game going on that the students win a turn in. It works out really well because everyone tries really hard to get the answer to the question right because they want to win the turn in the game. I’m sure some games would work better than others, but here’s an example. That dot connecting game where you build houses. You may have played it as a kid, the kids at this school all knew it.

. . . . . .
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You have a grid like this and take turns back and forth connecting two dots. Then when you complete a box, you basically get a point and a free move. The winner is the one with the most boxes at the end (just use different color filling or initials to separate the teams.)

Anytime there’s a “house” with three side complete, everyone goes nuts to get that last side (because it’s a garunteed point, possibly more.)

Theer are lots of games that seem like they’d work; Tic-Tac-Toe, five in a row, maybe a mini Go, etc.

Well, there’s another one.