Math = Love: Quick and Easy Review Games

Friday, January 22, 2016

Quick and Easy Review Games

There are the days when I spend hours crafting an awesome practice activity for my students.  Then, there are the days where I show up to school and need to figure out what all 3 preps are doing for the day during my 53 minute planning period.

Today, I want to share two ideas that I've used this year that can be thrown together on the quick.  They've both been stolen from other teachers, so I'll link to my inspiration.

Four In A Row - Inspired by Fawn Nguyen

* Find a pre-made worksheet for your topic online that has an answer key.  Print double-sided with the answer key on the back.  
* Make a quick table with the number of needed questions.  My worksheet had 26 questions, so I made a table with 25 boxes.  (Want the template for 25 boxes?  Click here!)  I didn't like the next-to-last question, so I told students to mark that one out and change #26 to #25.
* Put students in pairs.  I usually let them choose their own pairs.
* Each pair of students needs a worksheet/answer key, box template, and dry erase boards to show their work.
* Students decide who goes first.  This person chooses a question for both students to work out on their dry erase boards.
* Once both students are done, they turn over to the answer key and check their answers.  If the student who chose the question got it right, they get to write their name in that question's box.  If the student who chose the question got it wrong but their partner got it right, their partner gets to write their name in that question's box.  If both students got the question wrong, the box gets marked out without any names written.
* The other student gets to pick the next question.
* Play continues until one player gets their name four times in a row.  

Risk - Inspired by Julie Morgan

I've done a paper-based version of RISK before, but this was my first time using it with dry erase boards.  I played this with 5/6 of my classes on Wednesday.  Each class proclaimed that the game was fun and we should play it again!

* Come up with a set of practice questions.  You could write these yourself ahead of time.  Come up with them on the spot.  Copy them on the board from a textbook or worksheet.  Or, do what I did, and use Problem Attic (an awesome, free source of assessment questions!) to choose a bunch of questions related to the day's topic.  The great thing about the last option is there is an option to generate the questions as "Overhead Style."  You'll get a PDF file with one question per page to display with your projector.

* I put my students into groups of 2 to play this game with the hope that it would encourage conversation.  The pairs did result in lots of conversation, but I noticed only one student in the pair would do any of the writing.  So, you need to decide if you're looking for conversation or if you're looking for 100% participation.

* Have students/groups set up their dry erase boards.  I drew this picture on the SMARTBoard to explain what goes where.  I had each student start out with $100 on the right hand side of their board.  Their risk went in a specially designated box in the upper left corner.  And, they had to write their answer in the remaining space.

* Give the class a question and time to work it out.  I give students a warning of 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 to remind students to have their answer AND their risk written on the board.  When time is up, I make all the students hold up their boards so I can scan them.  I'm looking both at their answers AND their risks.  I require my students to risk at least $1 on every problem.  They can risk up to the amount they have, but no more.  If a group risks everything and loses, I give them $10 to get back in the game so they don't try and sit there and do nothing because they've lost.  The great part of this game is you can make up the rules to fit what your students need.  

* Work the problem out together.  If students got the problem right, they add their risk to the right-hand column.  If students got the problem wrong, they must subtract their risk in the right-hand column.  

* Repeat for as long as you have time.  My groups get super competitive and usually don't want to stop.  I tried stopping the game once because the bell had rang, but my kids begged for the last answer to be revealed so they could compare their scores.        


  1. These ideas are fabulous! I can adapt them easily to my resource room level and low # of students. I am definitely going to share with the other resource teacher, since we both struggle with engagement and ideas to keep it fresh. Thank you so much for always sharing your greatness!!

  2. I love these ideas. I will be using one on Monday for our review of Systems of Equations. I can't believe I've never heard of Problem Attic!

  3. These are great! I'm always on the lookout for quick review games. There's something about using the word "game" that really perks the students' ears. I really appreciate you posting the templates too...time saver. And Problem Attic, whaaaaaaatttt?!? Amazing! Thanks.

  4. I love these ideas! I especially like that they can be adapted to any level and content!

    How come I have never heard of Problem Attic before?

  5. LOVE the 4 in a row idea! And I can easily adapt it to German. Now I just need to find a Fragen-Dachboden (German Problem Attic!)... :) Thank you!

  6. I am always looking for ideas for review games, and this post hit the spot! Thanks!

    1. Me too! I seem to forget about them so easily, too. Sometimes I just need to be reminded of something I already know about.

  7. Great ideas! I LOVE using games for review.

  8. Okay attic is now added to the bookmarks! Thanks!

  9. Perfect timing for this post! I used Risk with my Algebra 2 students to review Rational Expressions and Equations on Monday! Thanks so much. It worked out great.

    1. Awesome! I love when the right post comes along at the right time!