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Pyrabit, AND, OR, NOT gate card game

A two player card game that helps anyone learn the three GCSE logic gates.

Roger Steel

Created by Roger Steel
last edited Mar 05 2019 by Roger Steel

This is a fun end of term activity which helps reinforce AND, OR and NOT gates. I looked around for a suitable game to buy for gates but none were limited to just these three so I put this together in publisher a few years ago. It was only meant to be a quick and dirty publisher draft but it’s good enough I’ve never gone back to make it properly. The formatting needs a bit of a tweak but it’s more than adequate. The 11th page is meant to describe how to play the game but I never use it and only print the main cards. It works best printed double sided on card and then a fair bit of time with a rotatrim. At a minimum you can get away with printing one sided 5 sheets to a pair of students. Excellent if your out of a computer room as it works better with tables (I’ve had kids playing it on the floor for space).

The basic idea is that you set six bit cards on a table between the players, they then take it in turns to lay cards on their side building up their gates until there is only one final card (a pyramid from the bits). In this basic form the game gets a little boring as winning and loosing is only governed by always having a card in hand to play, NOT gates are useless and just fill up your hand though they can be played to help lay a card on the next round it’s still a bit of a wasted go.

The full version of the game is were it gets a bit more fun and tactical. In the full or ‘nasty’ version of the game the NOT gate can be placed under the bit card which will flip it around. Any cards that depend on the gate which are no longer logically valid are then discarded. This can effect both players but if played well it can devastate your opponents pyramid.

I initially tested this on my junior school children and they grasped it quickly and were able to identify gates and correctly follow the logic (basically they had learn’t the truth table and gates by sight). It needs about 30 minutes but can go up to an hour, you can organise a league if you want or combine two sets to allow a larger starting binary number and bigger pyramids. Alternatively it can be played like a game of solitaire where you have to work through the pack in the style of a normal solitaire game.

Level - ks2-ks4 (designed for ks4 but succesfully tested on ks2)

Duration - 30-60 mins

Teaches - Logic Gates and truth tables

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