An idea about using connectedness in teaching (or Trivial Pursuits in the classroom)


I’ve often thought that the answers on the back of a Trivial Pursuits card are more interesting than the questions. The questions are always so closed, aren’t they? You can’t do anything with them apart from get them right or wrong. But the answers… well there’s lots of things you can do with them.


For a start you could come up with, say, five different questions to arrive at each answer.


Then you could come up with answers that re-categorise the questions. I see on the card before me that ‘Tea’ is the answer to the yellow History question. Could we think of a question that would make it blue (geography) or green (science) or even orange (sports)?


Then you could turn each one into a mini-project. On my card ‘Silicon Valley’ is the geography answer. Could I write a report, make a prezi, edit a video that would demonstrate the geography, entertainment, history, art and literature, science and sport and leisure of ‘Silicon valley’?


Finally could we do a 6 degrees of separation activity with the 6 answers on the card? Some amazing search that would connect all 6 things somehow? Let’s see – the answers on my card are:


geography: Silicon Valley
entertainment: Inflation
history: Tea
art and literature: Salvador Dali
science: Citroen’s
sport and leisure: The United States PGA


So a quick Google shows that Adam Nash, CA, blogged in 2008 that the extreme economics of the computing industry in Silicon Valley distorted inflation figures so badly that it changed US monetary policy. Meanwhile in the same year, Mayank Sharma writes that inflation can be explained by a cup of tea. Meanwhile one-time lead singer with Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry claims to have had tea with Salvador Dali of all people in the UK paper, the Mirror, back in 2010. Speaking of Dali, there seem to many comparison’s between him and Citroen’s cars, ranging from a positive, if surreal, driving experience, through thoughts about the Citroen’s bizarre rear windscreens, through less positive comments indicating that some concepts cars could well deserve to appear in a Dali painting.I then see that Ketel One, a dutch vodka company both make a variety called ‘Citroen‘ and sponsor the United States PGA (and have been doing so since 2005). Finally I see that the US PGA visited Silicon Valley in October 2010 at Cordevalle.



So do you dare me? Would this activity have any relevance, impact or meaning on a group of ten and eleven year-olds. Would they gain anything from it? Would they be able to do it? Is anyone out there doing things like this already?


As a postscript, while I’ve been writing this I’ve come up with some ‘connected questions’ you could throw in next time you’re setting a pub-quiz:

  • Admiral Horatio Nelson was a famous British leader who is remembered on a column at Trafalgar square, at the base of which sit statues of lions. What is the approximate number of lions that exist in the wild today?
  • Caesar Augustus was a the first Roman Emperor who led Rome from a Republic to an Imperial system, clearly demonstrating many aspects of leadership. The month August is named after him. But which gemstone is most commonly associated with August?
  • Adolf Hitler is the archetypal figure of many negative aspects of leadership, yet many consider Charlie Chaplin to be the man who championed the toothbrush moustache before Hitler’s fateful image tore it away from him. What are the names of the French pair who based their free programme on Chaplin’s ‘City of Lights’ (1931) to win the European figure skating ice dance title as recently as Friday January 28th 2011?


Tweet me and I’ll let you in on the answers, although it may be easier to Google them.

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