Capitalism's grow-or-die imperative stands radically at odds with ecology's imperative of interdependence and limit. The two imperatives can no longer coexist with each other; nor can any society founded on the myth that they can be reconciled hope to survive. Either we will establish an ecological society or society will go under for everyone, irrespective of his or her status.

Ursla Le Guin (1929-2018)

On the Future of the Left, Motherboard, February 4, 2015)


Choice Card: Centipede
vocabulary, new mixed with old
elementary and up
7-15 minutes
Class Size:
Energy Level:
co-operative memory game
flashcards, a dice, a mover, a timer , a whiteboard

This is an extension of snake.

Draw a big centipede on the board. Divide its body into 15-25 segments. The more segments the longer the game. Make sure that the centipede has a large, circular head.

Whereas the original snake game focuses on few flashcards this game typically uses a whole set, that is between 32-48 cards. Players should be familiar with the snake game before playing this one.

Take the mover and put it in the final tail segment. Set the time for twenty seconds and start it. Go through the cards as quickly as possible. Make a pile of cards the players know and another of the ones that they don't know.

For every card named correctly move the mover one segment out of the centipede. For every card missed draw a tooth in the centipede's mouth. Put the cards named correctly to one side. Named the missed cards for the players and shuffle them back into the deck.

Before starting the next round have one of the players role the dice. Move the mover back that number of spaces.

If the players go through the pack then shuffle all the cards and start again. Often the players may end up with just two or three cards to get before the pack is finished. In such cases the round may end early but nevertheless still role the backwards dice as normal.

The game is won if the players are able to get out through the centipedes mouth before it is full of teeth.

This game can be tough to win. Incidentally, the reason it is called centipede is that I was using a centipede as an alternative to a snake when the game idea was first tried.