I used this idea with my Year 2 class to write some information about our minibeasts topic. The basic idea was borrowed from the card game Top Trumps (see www.winningmoves. co.uk) which has themed decks of cards, including collections on predators, aeroplanes, dinosaurs and pop stars, with relevant details arranged in categories and a numerical value such as height (cm), weight (kg) and so on.
To play, you share out the cards face down. Then each person looks at their top card. Whoever starts chooses a category that they think they might win, and says, for example, "Height, 189." Players take turns to reveal the height on their cards, and whoever has the biggest number is the winner.
I made some blank cards with space for the children to draw a picture and to record length, number of wings, number of legs, beastliness (scariness), plus a box for an interesting fact. The children then made their own sets of cards, finding information from our minibeast collection of books and CD-Roms, and from some websites (www.naturegrid.org.uk explorer and www.insecta-inspecta.com are particularly well presented).
Pupils made at least four cards each, with some needing help to make sure their information was accurate. The activity took a couple of hours, spread over two lessons. When they were finished, they played in small groups.
This work really motivated pupils to find and record information and to remember facts. They were very pleased with their sets, especially as they could take them home. This idea could be easily adapted to record all sorts of information.
Richard Foster, Year 2 class teacher, Eastwick Infant School, Surrey