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Top 5 Classroom Games

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Academic studies naturally coincide with rote teaching styles and textbook work. However, it is important to make learning exciting for students with interactive activities. Incorporating fun classroom games into your lesson plan offers a simple way to motivate your students, and encourage them to draw on their creativity and imagination.

These top 10 classroom games provide fun ways to engage your students in academic learning, without them even realising!

1. Charades

This simple but classic game is a great way to encourage your student to get out of their seats and participate in the lesson.

Resources: a list of people, actions or concepts related to the subject you are teaching.

Game: Select a student to stand at the front of the room and act out a word from your list (no speaking allowed). The rest of the class must then guess what the student is attempting to portray. Other students can shout out their guesses or put their hands up – depending on your teaching preference! Whoever guesses correctly can act out the next word.

Alternative: A more challenging version involves the student describing a subject-specific word but restricted by a list of forbidden words, e.g. describing ‘habitat’ without using the words ‘home’ or ‘animals’.

2. Hangman

A traditional but interactive game which improves students’ spelling and subject knowledge, but is also enjoyable.

Resources: whiteboard and pen or interactive whiteboard, plus a list of subject-specific words to inspire your students.

Game: Divide your class into two teams then select a student to stand at the front of the class and think of a word related to the lesson (or you could give them a suitable word). The student must then draw spaces on the whiteboard to represent each letter in their word. The rest of the class then guesses the word, one letter at a time (allow one student from each team to guess alternately). Incorrect guesses result in a hangman being drawn (one line at a time). The first team to guess the word wins, unless the hangman is completed. The game then repeats with another student thinking of a relevant word.

Alternative: If you feel a hangman would not be appropriate then use a different image – either subject-specific or think creatively e.g. a spaceman or snowman.

3. Scatter-gories

This fun game will encourage your students to think ‘outside-the-box’ and draw on a range of subject knowledge.

Resources: pieces of paper, pens/pencils and a list of subject-specific categories e.g. Earth and Space (topic): rocks, landforms, weather, and solar system (categories).

Game: Split students into small groups and ask them to note down the categories on their pieces of paper. Choose a letter (A-Z) at random and give students 1-2 minutes (depending on how many categories) to think of a word for each category, beginning with that letter. Once the time is up, allocate points for unique answers, i.e. if two teams write down the same word for a category then neither get any points. Repeat the game with different letters.

Example: Letter M – Topic: Earth and Space
Rocks: Metamorphic
Landforms: Mountain
Weather: Mist
Solar System: Mars

Alternative: If you class only has a small number of students then they could fill in the categories individually, rather than working in teams.

4. Bingo

A quick and simple game which never fails to motivate students in their learning.

Resources: whiteboards and pen or paper and pen/pencils, plus a list of subject-specific terms or concepts e.g. numbers, phonics, key vocabulary, scientific formulae or historical figures.

Game:Ask students to draw a 6 x 6 grid on their whiteboards or pieces of paper then select 6 words or images from the given list to draw/write in their grid. You must then randomly select a word from the list to describe, and students must guess the word in order to cross it off on their grid (if present). Continue describing different words until one student successfully completes their grid and shouts ‘bingo!’ (you can also award a prize to the first student who gets 3 in a row).

Alternative: Students can insert their own subject-related answers into the bingo grid, but this makes it more challenging for you due to extensive word choice and ambiguity. Also, if you have more time, then you could create your own bingo boards with specific vocabulary or concepts you are covering in that lesson (reusable).

5. Puzzles

This creative group game encourages students to work together and visualize academic concepts in an abstract way.

Resources: images, words, calculations or concepts printed or stuck on card/paper and cut into random shapes (puzzle pieces) e.g. maths calculations, chemical equations, subject vocabulary, historical figures etc.

Game: Separate your class into groups (or simply use table groupings) then hand out a puzzle for each group to piece together.

Alternative: Students can create their own puzzles on the computer or drawn onto card/paper for their peers to complete.

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