Bettendorf business teacher Mark Pisel is by no means a conventional teacher. His hosting of mock-up game shows, creation of team building exercises, and fostering of a lively atmosphere have created a competitive and fun culture in which every student strives to be better.
In every class that Pisel teaches, he holds the Pisel Games, a quarter long event in which students complete curriculum based tasks to earn Pisel Bucks.
Students can earn Pisel Bucks by creating a prototype of their product or meeting with a manager from a competing business in person. On the contrary, students can lose Pisel Bucks by being tardy to class or by using their cell phone.
The implementation of the games has created an extra incentive for students to exceed expectations in the classroom.
“Kids are more willing to go above and beyond in order to earn extra cash for their team. The Pisel Games act as a break from the game of school,” Pisel said.
Throughout the quarter, the individuals and their teams collect Pisel Bucks. The currency is then used to buy ghost lives for the culminating event of the class: The Pisel Games Rock, Paper, Scissors Championship of the World, a tournament style event in which teams attempt to eliminate the other teams ghost lives by defeating them in games of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
The Pisel Games Rock, Paper, Scissors Championship of the World lives up to its name. It's cutthroat atmosphere has been likened to that of the Superbowl, World Cup, and many other notable sporting events.
Pisel recalls a great moment of the games existence, "I had a ninth grade female student who was super quiet. We got into the Pisel Games and she was at the championship table. She went on an absolute tear and beat 7 or 8 people in a row. The guys on the other team backed away from the table. She looks back up at the guys and with one finger motions for the next victim to come up to the table."
In the most recent Pisel Games, Bulldog star athlete Tyler Wellman could not handle the pressure of the games, stating "I think I'm losing my mind," after being knocked out of one of the rounds.
For students more fortunate than Wellman, a Pisel Games championship has led to fame and notoriety throughout the school and beyond. Pisel recently received an email from previous champion, Brooke McGee.
The email read, "Hey Mr. Pisel, just wanted to say I was flipping through my memories, and a year ago today I won the rock paper scissors championship of the world and still super proud of that accomplishment. I'll always be the true winner and if you need me ya know... to like give a speech sometime I would be happy to."
The Pisel Games have led to the creation of a strong community throughout the business department. A community in which champions are immortalized and participants are merely remembered. So if you have Mr. Pisel as a teacher, be sure complete all of your daily tasks, put in the extra work, and maybe practice a game or two of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
The Pisel Games Rock, Paper, Scissors Champions of the World 2018 First Quarter Winners
Check out the 4th block championship match.