Test week has arrived. As a teacher, I am hoping I have done my job well. I have presented the information, used a lot of formative assessment throughout the unit, and have even given a few quizzes to get a snap shot of where my students are at.
But, have I given them a true opportunity to practice all of the information before they take their exam all by themselves?
If you are anything like me, by the time we are at the end of the unit, I'm done. Like I-don't-wanna-teach-anymore done. I don't necessarily want to do any more review. I would rather just give them independent study time. However, I have found that doing review before a test is absolutely necessary. With that said, I am much more interested in having some structure to help with the review. It has been hard for me to find effective yet fun review games for my high school students. I've searched and searched online and have tried to find out what others do, but it's tough. I'm not sure if it has been for you, but I want to offer what I've found to you other math teachers.
I have a big ol' bag of candy in the back of my room, and the winners of these games receive that prize...as well as getting some good review time.
1. Fastest Solver In The West
Prep work: Choose 10-12 review problems for the game.
How to play: Students get broken up into groups of 2 or 3, and each group has its own miniature whiteboard, dry eraser pen, and tissue as an eraser. The teacher puts a problem on the board, and each group works out the problem on the board. They raise it up high as soon as they are finished, and the teacher looks to see if the answer is correct. If it is, the group earns 2 points if they were the first team up with the correct answer.
Now, if the problem is wrong, the group can keep reworking until the problem is right. After the first group gets the problem correct, every other team still has a chance of getting a point. If any of those other teams have the correct answer, they can earn one point. Keep having them rework problems and raise those boards for however long you desire. At the very end, tally up the points to see who the winner is.
Bonus: I tell my student they can earn an extra point if what is on the board makes me laugh. But only what is ON the board. A very funny addition to the game.
2. Search & Rescue
The idea behind the game is that the students will start at a problem posted in the room, work it out in their notebook, , come up with an answer, and if that answer is correct, it will lead them to the next problem. It's almost like a math scavenger hunt.
This game takes a little bit of prep work for the teacher, but absolutely worth it.
Prep work: Choose 8-12 review problems you want to the students to do in class (change depending on time). Number the problems 1-8, work them all out, and have the answer for each of them clearly labeled. Then make a list of the problem numbers in a random order (I.e. 2, 4, 6, 3, 8, 5, 1, 7). This will be your order of the problems for the students.
Take 8 pieces of computer paper and fold them in half. On the inside of the flap, put the different problems. Then order your problems in the new order you determined.
On the outside of the flap, you should put the answer from the previous problem. Using the example above, if the problem was #2 on the inside, the answer to #2 should go on the outside of problem #4's piece of paper. Then the answer to #4 should go on the outside of #6's piece of paper. So on and so forth until it loops back around to the beginning. It may sound weird, but if you start making it, you will see how it works.
When all the pieces of paper are complete, tape them up in all sorts of weird and fun places in your room.
How to play: Put students in groups, and make sure they have paper and pencil. Assign each group a problem to start with, and have them begin their solving and searching.
As the teacher, find a spot in the middle of the room. You are the rescue spot. If students come up with answers and they aren't finding them around the room, they may have gone wrong somewhere. Have them come to you, and you will be able to walk them through and help them understand.
3. Speed Dating
Prep work: Choose 12 review problems and have them ready to write or project one by one.
How to play: Have students take out a piece of paper and make 12 boxes—6 on one side, and 6 on the other. Then, have all the boys sit on one side of the tables, and all of the girls pair up with a boy. (If you have an uneven amount of boys and girls, I usually just ask for volunteers to fill in empty spots. If you have an uneven amount in general, I just have a group of 3.)
Put a problem up on the board. All students work through the problem, and they check their work/answers with their partner. The goal is for both of them to get the same answer. When time is up, give the correct answer to the whole class.
If both people in the partnership got the problem right, each person receives a point. If one or both people got it wrong, no one gets a point in that group.
Before you give the next problem, have all of the boys move clockwise one seat around the room. When they are established with their new partner, you may give the new problem.
I hope these games offer some help! They have been favorites in my classroom, and have proven to be very effective. Good luck to you and happy teaching!