Clam-Shell Concentration

Clam-Shell Concentration lesson plan

Play Concentration with a twist--match halves of proverbs or pictures from Japanese folk tales, for example. Create clamshells "cards" with bright Crayola® Markers!

  • 1.

    The noble classes of old Japan played a matching game using exquisitely illustrated sea shells. The insides of the shells were painted with scenes from popular stories or legends. The shells’ backs all had the same design. Players had to match a scene or verse connected with a traditional story. Sometimes half a proverb or quote would be depicted and the object was to find its other half.

  • 2.

    Choose a story or theme for your shell illustrations. You could choose Japanese folk tales or any other topic you are studying. Trim off the edges of sturdy paper bowls with Crayola Scissors to make shell shapes.

  • 3.

    With Crayola Markers, draw parts of the story inside the bowls. Draw pictures twice (or once if you use connected pictures such as the basket, red hood, bed, and wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, for example).

  • 4.

    Turn over the bowls and decorate their backs with the same pattern.

  • 5.

    Agree on your game rules with other players. You could place the shells in a random pattern and have each player turn over two at a time to find matches. Or put out half of the shells and distribute the rest of the shells among the players. The players th


  • Students learn about a leisure activity of old Japan.
  • Students depict familiar stories or information through symbolic illustrations.
  • Students decide upon game rules and interact in a positive manner while playing the game.


  • Collect real shells, wash them, and create the game.
  • Hold a round robin <EM>Concentration</EM> competition in your classroom.
  • Learn other "shell" games from around the world such as thimblerig, a slight-of-hand game using walnut shells.
  • Assessment: Help children analyze how well their selected story lent itself to the game. Review shells for accuracy and detail in telling the story. Observe children’s interactions as they play the game, looking for cooperative behaviors and problem solving skills.