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Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Did the Chicken...? - Exercise for Creativity for the Classroom


My recent posts about creativity games have drawn a good amount of attention, so I contacted Kory Heath about the game that sort of started it all.  He gave his hearty approval of a classroom version of Why Did the Chicken...?, the hilarious game of answering random riddles.  Two versions of the game are available for download from Promethean Planet:



Donations are definitely accepted!
These flipcharts (especially the Mythology edition) have been popular this summer. If you find them or any other resources on the blog useful, please consider donating $1 to $3.  Any money I receive this way will be used in my district to purchase resources for technology integration. I and my students greatly appreciate your support!  I would love to hear how you use the resources too.


Here are the rules as they appear in the flipchart, along with additional clarification and suggestions.  The couple changes or considerations for the mythology version are addressed below as well.

How to Play the Why Did the Chicken...? Classroom Game

Pick 3 - 5 "contestants" who will compete to write the funniest riddles.  They should sit at the front of the classroom.  Each contestant needs a piece of paper with his or her name on top.


To start a round, draw 1 Question prompt from the Question cards and 2 Nouns from the box of Noun cards.  (For the mythology edition, pick 1 of these Nouns from the Questions card and the other from Pandora's box.  The mythology words come from Pandora's box and it's best to have a real world noun combined with the mythology words.)  Put these items on the cards at the top of the screen.  Here's an example of how this might look:

So in the example, we get the riddle "Why is a tiger afraid of a rockstar?"

Note:  When it makes a difference, the teacher (with input from the class) may choose to change the order of the nouns to make the most interesting riddle.  As the example above illustrates, if "tiger" and "rockstar" are reversed the riddle lends itself to dull answers.

The contestants get 2 minutes to write a funny answer to the random riddle.  When finished, they hand their papers to the teacher.  Note that you can be as flexible as you want on this time limit.

Note:  Contestants might choose to write several answers in those two minutes, then pick one or possibly the teacher can just pick one.  It all depends on how much time the teacher wants to take in reading them.

The teacher reads the answers in a random order and writes them (possibly summarized) on the
board, one per sticky note.  Since the answers might be wordy, the key words can be written on the sticky notes just so the class can remember which is which.  If some answers are the same or similar, the teacher can have them submit another response.

The class should not know who wrote which answer.  In other words, don't always have the same student's answer end up on the same letter.

Using the Expressions (if available) have the class vote for their favorite answer.  After the vote, the contestants or teacher can indicate who wrote which response.  The player whose answer received the most votes gets 2 points for the round.  The player whose answer received the second most votes gets 1 point.

Keep score on the Score page.  Repeat for 5 - 7 rounds.  At the end, the contestant with the most points wins.

Students in the class (non-contestants) can play for points just for fun.  Any student who votes for the most popular answer gets a point.  These are tracked by the students themselves based on their honor.  They can compare points at the end of the game just to see who picked the winning answers the most.

Other details and suggestions:
  • Before you play, have the class submit names of people, places or other familiar nouns that will make the game personal.  This lends itself to hilarious inside jokes, but some students will need to be reminded to keep it appropriate for school!
  • In this version of the game there are five question formats, each repeated twice.  You might prefer to just choose them rather than randomly draw them, as some make easier riddles than others.
  • If students are having a hard time coming up with answers encourage them to brainstorm more than one and just pick the one they like best for the official submission.  The game is an exercise in creativity and they need to feel comfortable failing.  Anonymity in answers is sometimes necessary to encourage continued participation.
  • See this post about how I use creativity exercises before we play.
  • Nouns from any content area can be substituted to make the game fit the course subject.  See the mythology edition as an example.  
  • Instead of playing as a game, this can be used as an ongoing activity.  Riddles can be assigned to the entire class at the end of the hour.  All students would turn in answers the next day.  At an appropriate time the teacher could post five for a vote.  

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