[LOA] Family Feud

Once you see the ladder of abstraction you can’t unsee it. Family Feud is a game show that’s played on the ladder. When Steve Harvey says, “Name something that gets passed around,” that’s a higher level of abstraction than all of the items listed: a joint and the collection plate at church.

Every other quality of the joint and collection plate is eliminated except their passed-around-ness.

Which game show works in the other direction, giving you lots of items and asking you to move one level of abstraction higher to the category that includes them?

2013 Mar 18. Andrew Stadel mentioned on Twitter that he gives students on level of Family Feud’s abstraction (the joint and the collection plate) and asks students what higher level of abstraction they all belong to (“things you pass around”). Great idea, easily adaptable to mathematics also.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. I use two different games in my class: Tribond and Clever Endeavor. The questions come in a box like trivia pursuit. These are great at the end of the hour when I need to eat up a few extra minutes.

  2. Definitely Pyramid, especially the awesome bonus round. One partner (usually the celebrity) needs to make a list (very strict rules about this actually) and the other player needs to say the category. Many great clips of this on YouTube, last I knew Billy Crystal had the record even. And it also works great in math class, I’ll post more about it but gotta run to school now.