As an instructor, you must know whether or not your pupils are truly understanding the subject. Of course, you always have the option of testing them through a written exam, but these become boring for the student (and for the teacher who must grade each one). Below are a few ways to have fun in your classroom while discovering weak areas of study.
Divide the classroom into two teams and explain that the winning team will win a prize (examples of prizes could be allowing that team to be in the front of the lunch line or recess line, or it could be a physical prize.) Have each team designate a speaker who will be responsible for saying their team’s answer. Ask Team #1 a question regarding the subject material. Give them no more than forty-five seconds to confer with each other and then give their answer. If the answer is wrong or if the team runs out of time, the other team gets a chance to answer (do not repeat the question for the second team however or you will find they will not pay attention when it is the other team’s turn). If the second team also gets the answer wrong, choose one student from each team for a face-off round. Have them come to the front of the classroom and face each other. Slowly give one hint at a time until one of them hits a table in front of them (their “buzzer”). When you call on them, have them give their answer. If they are right, their team gets the point. If they are wrong, the other team gets it.
Arrange the desks in the classroom into a U-shape and divide the class into teams of 3-4 students. Again, determine a prize for the winning team. Give each team pieces of paper equivalent to the number of questions you will be asking along with a colorful writing utensil (think markers or colored pencils). Also, you will need to place a single desk in the center of the U and put an empty garbage can on top. Each team will choose someone to write the answers and inform the class that they will alternate “the shooter” every round. Similar to the above game, you will ask a question and give a certain amount of time (thirty seconds is recommended) to confer with their teammates and write an answer as well as their team name. After the time is up, the paper must be handed to the “shooter” of the round and he or she will form it into a ball. When the word “go” is shouted, each shooter will aim for the “basket” in the center of the room. A point is only earned if the paper lands in the basket and has the correct answer.
This game works well with younger children, but may not be acceptable for junior high or school. Before the class comes in, label each corner “1-4”. Have the class stand as a group somewhere in the room. Each question comes with multiple choice answers and each corner represents one of those answers. For example, you could ask the question, “What color is the sky?” Corner #1 is pink, Corner #2 is green, Corner #3 is blue, and Corner #4 is purple. When you say go, the students will have ten seconds to get into the correct corner.
Around the World
This game requires no preparation whatsoever. It is especially useful in “mental math” subjects, but can be used in a variety of situations. To start, choose any child in the classroom and have them stand next to the desk behind them. The person in the desk also stands. As you ask a question, the first one to answer correctly moves on the next desk while the other one sits in the challenged desk. This continues with the object being one student getting all the way “around the world” (Back to their own desk).
Often times, games such as these help reinforce learning materials while helping you as the instructor further understand the classroom’s strengths and weaknesses. Some children may struggle with tests due anxiety, but will excel in physical activities evaluating their knowledge. So, the next time you want to test your students’ knowledge, consider these activities.