Class can sometimes become monotonous for students. The many distractions of teenage life can cause their attention to drift, and before long, you may reach the end of a unit and not feel confident that your students understand the material covered. If you are looking for an engaging way to review material with your class or simply want to break up the monotony and recapture your students' attention, try organizing a game.
The Vocabulary Race helps students recall items learned during a unit in which they saw many new terms. Split the classroom into teams, and line the two teams up in front of the chalkboard. Give the front student from each team a piece of chalk. The student writes a word beginning with the letter "A" that relates to the material covered, and then hands the chalk to the next student, who must think of a vocabulary word beginning with "B." The team that covers all of the letters of the alphabet first wins. Depending on the subject matter, you may wish to omit difficult letters such as "Q." This game can alleviate the problems caused by teens' short attention spans and encourage their competitive desires.
Place nine desks in a three-by-three grid, or simply draw a tic-tac-toe layout on the chalkboard, and split the classroom into two teams. Write several questions relating to the current unit on slips of paper. Fold them, and put them into a hat. A team draws a question from the hat. If they answer correctly, they can sit at one of the nine desks or write an "X" or "O" on the board. If a team answers a question incorrectly, they lose the turn. If you would like to make the game slightly more complicated, you can also use the board game Connect 4. This game works well for teens because you can control the difficulty of the questions asked, ensuring that the students must demonstrate a high level of understanding to be successful.
While Sudoku requires little math skill, playing it as a team can be an excellent way to give students in a math class a day off after a difficult exam while still keeping numbers on their minds. In Sudoku, players have a nine-by-nine board, divided into nine three-by-three sections. The goal is to add the digits 1-9 to each square on the board so that no digit repeats in any horizontal line, vertical line or three-by-three section. The board begins with a few digits filled in already. You may want to use a puzzle from a Sudoku book so that you know it is solvable. Split the class into teams, giving each team the same puzzle. Have the students race to solve the puzzle, working together or with each student taking a turn. To keep your teens interested, select a puzzle labeled "expert" or "extremely challenging" and give them the pleasure of seeing what their collective brainpower can accomplish.
Write a long sentence on the chalkboard. Split the class into two or more teams. Taking turns, each team sends a member to the front of the room to write a word constructed from the letters in the sentence. Each letter can only be used once, and neither team can repeat a word. After a student has written a word, score it according to the number of letters it contains, and then double the score it the word relates to the current unit that the students are working on. The game continues until neither team can think of more words. This game works well for teens because it forces them to think laterally in a way that would be difficult for younger students. To increase the challenge level, require each word to consist of at least five letters.
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