Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Science Review Games

I know this is not a "Tech Tip" exactly, but we have been playing some fun review games in class to prepare for the energy test. It's been a fun two days so I wanted to share!

Vocabulary Games

Science has a lot of vocabulary for students to learn. One strategy I have long used to help them review these words is to print out vocabulary cards on card stock. Each card has one vocabulary word. I print out one set of cards for the eight groups in my class. My homeroom students help by cutting the cards out and placing them into a Ziploc bag. 

The main idea is for a student to give clues to the others at their table so they can guess the word. There are many different ways for them to set this up. Usually, one student gives clues while the other three try to guess. Sometimes, they will form two teams that compete against each other. 

I let students decide how to give clues. The three main options have always been Pictionary, Taboo, and charades. 

Pictionary - Student draws clues on a large whiteboard. They cannot write down any words, and they are not allowed to talk or use gestures. 

Taboo - Student gives verbal clues. They are not allowed to mention any word or part of a word written on the card. They are also not allowed to use gestures. 

Charades - Student can only use gestures as clues. I also let them use props. However, no speaking and no drawing. 

As students played these games in class yesterday, one group suggested another variation called "Catch Phrase". It's similar to Taboo, but there are two teams. As soon as one team correctly identifies one term, they quickly hand the cards off to the other team. It goes back and forth, and the goal is to get through as many of the vocabulary cards as they can in one minute. I thought this was a great idea and decided to take it one step further in my last class of the day. The last 10 minutes of class was a class Catch Phrase competition. The goal of the competition was to be the table that correctly identified all vocabulary cards in the shortest amount of time.  

Sports Challenge

Each year, as the NHL and NBA playoffs are kicking off, I have a sports challenge review game for the test on energy transformations. In a traditional review game (such as Jeopardy), students earn points for their team by answering questions correctly. That is not the case here!

There are eight teams with each team having four students. Each team was assigned an NHL hockey team currently in the playoffs. Students had to rotate at each table and take turns answering questions. I made a Google Presentation with many energy-related questions and asked students to stand up as soon as they knew the answer. If they got it wrong, I moved on to the next student. If they answered correctly, they could then try to earn points by doing a sports challenge! If they were successful in the challenge, points were awarded to their team. If they were not successful, they received no points. It's also worth noting that if no students could answer the questions, I gave the teams a clean slate and allowed them to collaborate at their tables.

Here are the challenges: 

Hockey challenge: My desk makes a perfect hockey goal. Students had the option shoot against me as goalie, or they could play goalie and try to stop my shot. If they were successful, they earned 3 points. For the ball, I used a ball of paper wrapped in masking tape. 

Soccer challenge (new this year): This is exactly like the hockey challenge except they used their feet with the tape ball instead of hockey sticks. 

Basketball challenge: The goal is to throw the tape ball into a trash bin. There were a few different lines to shoot from. As the line distance increased from the basket, the points increased from 1-3 points. There was also a 5 point opportunity if they made a shot from behind my desk in the back of the room. The one rule here is their foot could not be past the tape. If so, I threw the flag (my yellow Terrible Towel) and the basket did not count. 

Juggling challenge: Students tried to juggle three balls as long as possible. If they juggled for 5 seconds, they earned 3 points. If they juggled for 10 seconds, it was worth 6 points. 

Here are some of today's highlights: 
  • Until this year, I have only ever had two students make the 5 point basketball shot from behind my desk. Today, three students made it, and they were all in the same class!
  • One student made the most amazing 3 point basketball shot of all time. The ball bounced off the ceiling, bounced off the floor, and then landed right in the basket. I wish someone videotaped it. 
  • When I had two students stand up at the same time (and they both knew the correct answer), we had a "head to head" challenge in hockey, soccer, or juggling. 
  • The greatest moment came when two teams were tied for second place at the end of the game. I had each group choose one student to represent their team in a final timed challenge. They had to first score a hockey goal on me as goalie. They were allowed to shoot again and again until they scored. Once they did this, they had to quickly grab the ball and make a "2 point" basketball shot. If they missed, they had to retrieve the ball and keep shooting until they made it in. The first student completed it in 57 seconds. The second student took just over a minute. It was intense! 
Needless to say, this was a very fun and engaging review session. Students were motivated, competitive, and very spirited. Feel free to use any of these review ideas in your classroom. For what it's worth, the four winning teams today: Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and LA Kings. Could these be the final four teams in the NHL semi-finals? We'll see!

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