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Clam-Shell Concentration

Play Concentration with a twist--match halves of proverbs or pictures from Japanese folk tales, for example. Create clamshells "cards" with bright Crayola® Markers!

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. The noble classes of old Japan played a matching game using exquisitely illustrated sea shells. The insides of the shells were painted with scenes from popular stories or legends. The shells’ backs all had the same design. Players had to match a scene or verse connected with a traditional story. Sometimes half a proverb or quote would be depicted and the object was to find its other half.
    2. Students choose a story or theme for their shell illustrations. They can choose Japanese folk tales or any other topic of study. Trim off the edges of sturdy paper bowls with Crayola Scissors to make shell shapes.
    3. With Crayola Markers, draw parts of the story inside the bowls. Draw pictures twice (or once if you use connected pictures such as the basket, red hood, bed, and wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, for example).
    4. Turn over the bowls and decorate their backs with the same pattern.
    5. Agree on your game rules with other players. You could place the shells in a random pattern and have each player turn over two at a time to find matches. Or put out half of the shells and distribute the rest of the shells among the players. The players then match only what they have in the their hands.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Students can collect shells, wash them, and design the "cards" for their original game pieces.

    In small groups, students brainstorm the rules for playing their game of Clam-Shell Concentration. Make a list of the rules on a poster board and post them in the classroom for viewing.

    Thimblerig is a slight-of-hand game that makes use of walnut shells. Student teams research this game and create an original set for use. Students write a summary of the history of the game for display.

    Students examine items in their community that are commonly found. Collect these and make a new Concentration game using these items.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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