Charty Party Goes to School

When I visit with friends, we often play board games. I particularly enjoy games that include creativity, lots of laughter, and not too much competition (since stress-as-recreation doesn’t feel like fun right now). So, I was curious to read about a game that promised creativity and fun, all centered around graphs. Graphs? Of course, my teacher brain was intrigued.

Enter Charty Party. The original Charty Party can be risqué and is intended for adults. I haven’t seen it, but since the company describes it as “decidedly not for all ages,” it is safe to assume it is not school-appropriate. Fortunately, there is Charty Party All Ages Edition, advertised for ages ten and up. Charty Party is played like many other games, in that players present their bid for funniest or most clever card and one player serves as judge. The difference is that the cards are presenting proposed explanations for graphs. For example, in the graph below, the x-axis reflects “Size of Muscles,” with a dramatic increase on the y-axis as muscle size increases to hulk level. What variable best explains that pattern? Two cards suggest it might be the inability to speak quietly, or number of race-car posters possessed. I’ll bet you could think of other options. Number of shirts purchased due to ripped sleeves, perhaps?

Charty Party could be a wonderful engaging way to develop graph literacy and support creative thinking at the same time. My pack contained several suggested teaching activities including writing activities to justify a choice of y-axis, picking a card that could not match a graph, and making a data collection plan for a particular graph-card combination. I’d love to see students develop their own graphs and cards—perhaps one graph and three cards that could fit it—so the class creates their own card pack. It might even be limited to local variables, to personalize the game even more. In Ann Arbor I can envision graphs representing the time it takes to drive past the stadium on game vs non-game days, likelihood of choosing some of the stranger flavors of Blank Slate Ice Cream, or perhaps early college weight gain correlated to distance from Zingerman’s Deli!

My Charty Party pack also included a reference to online teacher notes that no longer seem to exist since the website has been changed/updated. I hope the notes return, since the number of teachers online requesting Charty Party for their classrooms suggests teachers are on board for some creative graphing this fall!

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