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Real Versus Fake Laws

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First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to Dave Sperling for this excellent website; it has proven to be an invaluable resource. I would also like to thank its many contributors who have submitted their ideas. As a small token of my appreciation, I would like to submit an improved version of an already listed (and very good) game idea, namely that of MIKE WHEELER of Newfoundland, Canada entitled "Which Law is Real?! Excellent Group Game!"

Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Materials: Strips of white paper, non-transparent bag or similar vessel

1. Prepare a list of silly but real laws (http://www.dumblaws.com for instance). Print out this list and cut the individual laws into strips.

2. Divide the class into however many teams and appoint captains or "group speakers." Then, instruct them to think of some fake laws (typically in the format of "It is illegal to...").

3. Give each team one strip of paper for each fake law you'd like them to think of (the number of laws will vary according to class size and available time) and instruct them to write the laws on the strips of paper.

4. Collect the strips of paper from the class, but before you do so, check for correct format and grammar. Then, mix them together with your own laws in a non-transparent bag or a similar vessel.

5. Randomly choose a law and read it out to the class.

6. Give the class a few moments to decide on whether the law is real. Then, have the captain of each group impart upon you a group-decision.

7. If you selected one of your own laws and a particular group guesses that it is true, then that group is to be awarded a point. If that group feels it is fake, then you - the teacher - award yourself a point. If you selected a law composed by one of the groups and a particular group guesses that it is fake, then that group receives a point. If, however, that group guesses that it is true, then the group who composed it receives a point for fooling that group. A group who fooled, for instance, three other groups would, thus, receive 3 points.

8. At the end, tally each team's total number of points and declare the winning team. I award participation points to the winning team (as it is part of their grade), but you can also hand out candy or other goodies, or, if you're scroogy, nothing at all. ;-)

The reason for having the laws be printed/written on strips of paper and selected from a non-transparent container is so that they will appear indistinguishable and so that students will not be able to pre-guess if the law being read out is one of theirs or one of the teacher's. The reason for appointing a captain and having him/her make the final decision as opposed to everyone in the group voting is so that, in the case that the law being read out is that of a particular group, the influence that group can have on the decision of other groups is minimized. The reason for awarding yourself points is to further heighten the competition - student's love outsmarting the teacher! The reason for checking the format and grammar of students' laws is to allow fluency when reading them out; i.e. if you have to pause before or while reading out a law because of incorrect format or grammar, then the class will automatically know that it is a fake law!

I apologize to Mike Wheeler for having submitted an improved version of his game idea without his consent. However, there was no way of contacting him. It's a great idea and I feel that, with the amendments I have made, it will prove to be even better. All praise should go to him, but if you would like to tell me about your experiences with this game, then I would be happy to hear from you. Hopefully, I will, at some stage, submit my own original game idea!

Chris Cookson
Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, People's Republic of China
Email: chrisjcookson@yahoo.com

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