Challenge: Review Games

There are so many fun games to play as you review concepts! Here are 12 ideas.

  1. Heads Up 

Preparation: Have a stack of index cards or a similar size on which you’ve written concepts, vocabulary, famous people, etc. You could also have students write down information but you’d need to be careful of repeats. I used the math vocabulary word wall sheets for our state test which has pictures as well as words and printed them 4 to a page on cardstock to use. 

Game: Have students be in groups of 4-5. One student holds the stack of cards in front of their forehead. The other students try to get the student with the cards to guess as many as they can correctly in 1 minute. The guesser can “pass” if they’re stuck. After 1 minute, the stack passes to the next person in the group. The group that has the largest correct stack at the end wins the round.

2. Taboo

Preparation: Have a list of vocabulary words, phrases, concepts ready (these could be from a unit map or pacing guide). 

Game: Have students set up in chairs with one person facing you, the teacher, and one person with their back to you. Use a whiteboard to write a word or concept. You can add a word or phrase that they cannot use (that is taboo) or you can treat this more as a whole class version of Heads Up. When the guesser is able to guess the word or phrase, then the pair can raise their hands. Once most people have it, you can move onto the next word. Pairs can trade places every 5 or so words.

3. Cranium

Preparation: Make kits that have a few things in them: minute hourglass timer, play-dough, index cards and writing utensils. I put my kits in pencil cases. Have a stack of situations, important people, important events, vocabulary, etc. 

Game: Students draw a card from the stack of events, etc. They can roll a dice of options or they can choose from: act it out (star performer in cranium), sketch it out or sculpt it out (both are “creative cat” in the game but I split it up). You could also create more cards related to the game (“data head” – trivia/fun facts, “word worm” – definitions with multiple choice questions).

4. Quiz Quiz Trade

Preparation: Create cards that have questions or problems on them OR have students create cards. It helps if the answer is on the back. These can be as simple as math facts or multiple choice problems or fill in the blank. 

Game: Each student has one card. They’ll meet up with another person, quiz one another on their cards, check the answers on the back, then trade cards, find a new partner, repeat the process. 

5. Questions Challenge

Preparation: Generate a list of topics that students could discuss for a longer period of time. Example: a historical or famous figure (Olympians, Benjamin Franklin), a significant historical event (World War II), a scientific idea (experiments), a group of things (planets, fantasy/science fiction books).

Game: Have students stand in two lines. One student from each line comes to the center and is given the topic. The students try to hold a conversation where they only speak in questions. The partner that cannot come up with a response or speaks in something that’s not a question first is out and goes to the end of the line. You can either bring up a new pair or allow the “winner” to play against another person.

6. Yes, No, I

Preparation: Generate a list of topics that students could discuss for a longer period of time. Example: a historical or famous figure (Olympians, Benjamin Franklin), a significant historical event (World War II), a scientific idea (experiments), a group of things (planets, fantasy/science fiction books).

Game: Have students stand in two lines. One student from each line comes to the center and is given the topic. The students try to hold a conversation where they cannot say Yes, No, or I. The partner that says “yes,” “no,” or “I” first is out and goes to the end of the line. You can either bring up a new pair or allow the “winner” to play against another person.

7. Four Corners (linked to example slides)

Preparation: Think about a topic or unit of study where students need to differentiate between groups that might be confused. For example, 4 famous people, layers of the atmosphere, 4 types of figurative language, etc. If the categories are staying the same, you can just label each corner. If they will change or if you want to prepare more, you can also project a 4 square slideshow. At the center, put the fact that you want students to associate with one of the categories. Students should travel to the corner that they think matches the fact you provided.

Game: Read aloud or project a fact that goes with one of 4 categories. Allow students to move to the corner of the room associated with the category that they think goes with that fact. 

 

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8. Line Up

Preparation: Think about something that students need to know in sequence (math procedures, major events of World War II, events in a story, etc.). Decide how many steps/events students will need to know and write one on each card. Split students up into groups of that many people/cards. Optional: Set out chairs for each group. If each group has 5 people and 5 cards to sort, set out 5 chairs in a line.

Game: Give students the stack of cards. They must each take a card and put themselves in order. If you use the chairs, you can say that when everyone is sitting down, they’re done. If they were correct and the first to sit down, that group wins.

9. Ball Toss

Preparation: You need a ball or bean bag of some kind. You also need to decide on a prompt, such as converting between decimals, fractions, percents. You could have students list a word, then the next person who gets the ball needs to say something about that word. 

Game: Establish a pattern of passing the ball. It can be helpful to do this with names first. I saw someone who shared a great strategy with this: have everyone point to who they’re passing to and say their name (all at the same time) so that it’s stuck in everyone’s brain. Once the pattern is established, be sure to list the expectations of what to share. You could also combine this with “Things That…”

10. Things That…

Preparation: Determine a list of categories that could have lots of words associated with the category (things that are in fantasy books, figurative language, prefixes/suffixes, properties of ___, famous Americans, etc.). 

Game: Students stand in a line or a circle. The teacher lists the category. This game is similar to concentration where you’re trying to list as many different words within the category. Go down the line or around the circle as each person says one word. If someone gets stuck, they’re out (you can dramatically do the clap clap, “outta here”). When someone gets out, a new category starts.

11. Speed Dating or Concentric Circles

Preparation: Brainstorm some open ended questions or discussion prompts to ask students. 

Activity: Have students line up facing each other in one long line OR have students stand in an inner and outer circle where the inner circle faces someone in the outside circle. Give the question or discussion prompt and allow students to share. It can be helpful to assign groups/partners A and B (right line is A, left line is B, etc. and state if A or B is sharing first). Ring a bell or use another attention getter then have one line or one circle shift by one person. If in a line, the person at the end goes to the other end to fill in. You can change which line or circle moves and if they skip more than one person.

12. Simon Says

Preparation: Determine a movement for each vocabulary word. For instance, I play “Sun Says” where I have movements for different seasons where they have to tilt a hemisphere towards or away from me, the sun. Other movements include rotate, tilt, revolve, rotate and revolve, day (face me), night (face away), tilt and revolve, tilt and rotate, etc. 

Game: Model the movements with students and practice them before you play. Then, call out movements with “Simon Says.” If you say a movement and they do it without the phrase, “Simon Says,” they’re out.

BONUS: Stand Up, Sit Down

Preparation: Decide on a topic that would allow for easy compare and contrast. For example, which is larger/heavier/smaller/etc. These could be fractions, scenarios, measurements in metric vs. customary, etc.

Game: It takes more time to prepare, but it is easier to prepare a presentation and project. On one side of the screen, you’ll have “Stand Up” and on the other side “Sit Down.” Students follow the direction to stand for the larger, for example.

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