A second example of Jill Swale’s work, lovingly-culled from the ATSS archive, is based around the requirement for students to “solve a mystery by selecting and ordering relevant material through group discussion”.

In terms of game mechanics, this is a relatively simple sift-sort-match exercise: students work in small groups to link case study material to different sociological approaches to understanding and explaining crime and deviance.

Once completed the relationships between the evidence and theory can be opened-up for class discussion and there is further scope to set extension work, such as an essay, on the basis of the work done in the classroom. 

The exercise is designed to encourage students to interpret data and apply theories to a specific instance and while the supplied materials cover a variety of situations and theories, you can easily add or subtract material of your own – such as different forms of evidence and newer theories – by using a word processor to create new cards. This facility means you can tailor the level of work to the requirements of both the whole class and specific students within the class if necessary (by using a group-work format teachers can, if necessary, spend more of their time with students who need a bit more focused help).

If you find this type of exercise works well for you and your students you should be able to use it as a template to create and explore other scenarios across different Units / Modules – basically any area of the course that requires students to link evidence to theories.

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