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Fun Teaching Games for Understanding

Instructor: Lindsey Pierron
Today's students come to school expecting to have fun and be entertained. So, teachers have to get creative in order to keep students interested. Using games throughout instruction keeps students engaged and improves understanding of new concepts.

Fun Teaching Games for Understanding

Games are exciting, engaging, and increase student understanding of academic material. In a school setting, games serve a variety of purposes. Children learn how to be good sports, cope with losing, and win gracefully through games. Perhaps more importantly, games can be used to review and reinforce concepts, thus improving comprehension. There are hundreds of academic games used in the classroom, and generally, they can be broken into two categories: multi-subject games and subject-specific games.

Multi-Subject Games

Some of the most effective games are those that can be adapted to teach several skills or subject areas. Jeopardy, trivia games and BINGO are easy to customize to any given subject area, either on a poster board or online. Several other games can be adapted to fit several subjects. Two examples are the Flyswatter game and the Dice game.

The Flyswatter Game

The Flyswatter Game is easy to setup and fun to play. Imagine a fifth grade math class. The teacher, Ms. Kaplan, writes symbols for four math operations on the board, as seen below.

Symbols can be written on the whiteboard.
Math symbols

Ms. Kaplan breaks the students into two teams and asks all students to take out their whiteboards and whiteboard markers. She calls one representative from each team to the board and hands them each a flyswatter. She reads a word problem aloud, and the team representatives race to hit the symbol for the correct operation. Meanwhile, the rest of the students write the correct symbol on their whiteboards. The first team representative to hit the correct operation with a flyswatter earns a point for her team. Play continues until all students have had an opportunity to use the flyswatter. The team with the most points, wins! This game can be used in vocabulary and reading instruction, too. Instead of putting mathematical symbols on the board, Ms. Kaplan could read short passages, and ask students to identify the author's purpose, as shown below.

The Flyswatter Game is engaging, can be used across subject areas, is simple to play, and is very useful in the classroom.
Authors Purpose

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