We are in the final stretch. This is the time of year where testing is in full swing, stress levels are high, and energy is low! To hear the words "review day" could suck any remaining life out of our students this time of year. What if we approached them a bit differently and instead of "review" they became "game jams"? Doesn't that sound much more exciting?! I know it does to me! The energy games bring to the classroom is unmatched and the collaboration and learning that takes place is extraordinary!
Games are the perfect way to review for tests of all kinds, and I am continuously on the hunt to find new games to add to my game closet of ideas! Whenever I watch game shows or walk down game aisles I am looking for ideas and inspiration to bring into our classroom adventures. Our local toy store is going out of business, so they have had some pretty amazing discounts on their games recently. As I was perusing the game aisle, I did a double take. I saw the game, Topple, was discounted 90%! What?? I hadn't heard of this game, but I love a good bargain and I knew I could find a way to use it for learning! I bought all they had and found a home for them on my classroom counter.
I must admit the stack of Topple games sat there for quite some time, just begging to be played. As I was planning for my "game jam" to study for an upcoming pastry test I realized enough was enough...Topple was going to be a part of our pastry "Game Jam"! I made slight adjustments to the rules...and it adapted to our classroom logistics beautifully!
Object of the Game:
Score the most points by completing or adding to stacks or rows of playing pieces, while being careful not to topple any of the other pieces.
Topple game board
Set of review questions
4 islands of tables, with a cup of colored Topple pieces on the middle of each.
1 table in the middle with Topple Board and dice.
1. Divide class into teams of 4 and have them sit at one of the 4 table islands.
2. Have a representative from each group come up to middle table to roll die. Highest roll will go first.
3. Ask group with highest roll a question from review sheet and set the timer for 1 minute. If they answer the question correctly, one student from the team comes up to the middle table and rolls die. The number they roll corresponds with the numbers on Topple Board; 1=level 1, 2=level 2, etc and 6 is wild (can be placed anywhere on board). They place their Topple piece on board strategizing best location.
If they answer the question incorrectly, the next team to the right gets a chance to steal, If stealing team answers correctly, they have the same opportunity to roll die, and place Topple piece on board. If not, the next team steals, until someone answers correctly.
4. The second question goes back to second table and play repeats in the same manner.
5. The first team to topple the board and have pieces fall, ends the game and loses all points. The remaining teams add up their points. Teams with the highest points overall wins the game.
The beauty in this game is there are endless variations to the rules. You can add your own rules and point possibilities, or better yet, ask your students to create their own rules! They love designing games and usually have better ideas than I do! There is something magical about the energy that is created by the games we play.
When we create memorable experiences for our students, the learning sticks. I challenge you to open up your game cabinet at home or spend some time wandering the game aisle at your local stores. There is so much inspiration to be found there and the possibilities are endless! How can you take your favorite game and bring it into your classroom to create new opportunities for learning!? Ready set go....let the games begin!
Tech Integration Specialist in Southern Oregon and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.