House points at Hogwarts are awarded for good deeds and deducted for bad deeds. The running total is made publicly available and a prize is awarded to the top-scoring house after a set period of time. Surely this is the most famous example of gamification in childrens' literature!
Here's how the house points are introduced in the books:
"While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your House points, while any rule-breaking will lose House points. At the end of the year, the House with the most points is awarded the House Cup, a great honour." — Professor McGonagall during her welcome speech
The points are stored in 4 giant hourglasses, each representing a house, which are kept in the Great Hall. Gryffindor’s hourglass is filled with rubies, Slytherin’s with emeralds, Ravenclaw’s with sapphires, and Hufflepuff’s with diamonds. Whenever a teacher or a prefect awards or deducts points for a house, these gems would go up/down in the hourglass.
Who keeps track of the house points in Harry Potter?
So who moves the gems when points are added or deducted?
The hourglasses are magical, of course. They keep track themselves. For instance, after the Department of Mysteries battle, Professor Mcgonagall awards 50 to Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny and Luna, and the stones stack themselves by magic as she says the word.
Why not create your own house points for your school/classroom
Because most people are familiar with the Harry Potter books and films, the house point system is something that they will have heard before. So why not capitalize on that to add some simple gamification to your classroom, activity or project?
Creating a scoreboard with house points is a great way of keeping people engaged and fostering gentle competition.
If you want to read more how to use a scoreboard in your classroom, then please click on this link.
Using a digital scoreboard
Should you decide to give a Harry-Potter-Style house point system a try, you need a way of tracking and displaying the points.
One recommended solution is Keepthescore.com (that’s us 👋)! We have created a tool that is super quick to setup and comes with a bunch of features and themes to make your scoreboard look attractive — including a Harry Potter theme called "Wizard" (see screenshot above). It’s free to try and costs 15 USD to unlock some features.
If you have questions or feedback, then do comment below