Spanish Version

They Met the Challenge

Social Studies Activity

This activity is a card game that encourages students to choose a role model, learn about that person, and share the information with others.


  • Index cards
  • Pens, pencils, and/or felt-tip pens
  • Reference materials, such as biographies and encyclopedias


  1. Explain to students that they will be creating a card game based on real people who have "met the challenge." Have students discuss their nominees for the game and their reasons for considering them.

  2. Give students the following guidelines for creating a deck of cards:
    • Create an Identity Card. On this card, draw a picture of your subject, print his or her name, and give his or her dates, and a brief identification. For example: Thurgood Marshall, 1908-1993, American jurist.
    • Make four Fact Cards. Each contains a statement describing a significant event or accomplishment in the subject's life but otherwise not identifying him or her. For example: He became the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.

  3. Each student should create at least one set of cards that include one Identity Card and four Fact Cards.

  4. Explain the rules of the game, as follows:
    • Players draw (or are dealt) three cards each from the Identity Card deck and lay them out vertically on the playing surface.
    • They then draw (or are dealt) five cards each from the Fact deck. The purpose of the game is to match the Fact Cards to their Identity Card. So if players have any of the Fact Cards that belong with their Identity Cards, they lay them on the table beside the appropriate Identity Card. When players have all five cards from any set, they can remove the set and get 50 points for it.
    • If players draw Fact Cards that do not go with any of their Identity Cards, they keep these private. They have two options: Put these cards back in the correct deck and draw an equal number of cards to try again. Or retain some of the cards because they match their opponent's Identity Cards. These are Wild Cards. Note that you are allowed to keep only two wild cards at a time.
    • Players can use their Wild Cards to "capture" their opponent's sets. For example, player A sees that player B has three Fact Cards to go with his Identity Card for Florence Nightingale. Player A, however, is holding the fourth Fact Card. She can reach over and capture the set, winning the 50 points for herself.
    • The winner is the player with the most points when the Fact Card deck is used up.


  • Suggest that students study the complete sets of cards before playing the game.
  • Have students create additional sets and decks of cards after they feel they know all the facts about the set they have been using.
  • Encourage students to think of other games for which they can use the decks.

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