When developing a class curriculum, it can sometimes be difficult to integrate an interactive element. Many middle-school-aged children cannot focus on more than an hour of memorization, lectures, or even slide shows. It’s important to have an interactive activity to both break up the monotony of class, and to enhance learning at home. In the classroom, teachers don’t necessarily need the best technology to create an interactive lesson. Using a whiteboard or a dry erase board, teachers can create a game using cards, dry erase pens, and their imagination.Low-cost games can be tailored for certain subjects. Almost all of the students will know how to play hangman, for example, but they might find it more difficult when learning specific vocabulary. This type of game would be good for a second-language class, or for learning difficult SAT-worthy English words. An English teacher could provide a short definition after the students finish the word, or give hints if they’re having difficulty. Another great game for an English class would include practicing sentence diagramming, where students can come forward to diagram, and receive points for correct answers. The classic card game Spoons can be played to match 4-of-a-kind words for either difficult vocabulary or grammar knowledge.
For history and social studies, there are a lot of games available. A favorite is often Jeopardy, but history teachers could also play other games like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Popular game shows can provide a lot of inspiration. Also, it would be fun to do a timeline game, where students can match cards with events to their place in a chronological timeline on the whiteboard. Math and science classes often need a short break, and depending on the level of memorization many of the games mentioned previously can also be used for this topic. Also, if a teacher is comfortable with doodling, a science version of Pictionary could be a lot of fun. There’s also the magic balloon game, which stretches students’ problem-solving imaginations, and features students trying to destroy or protect a balloon (and you can integrate science concepts to try and pop it).
It’s important to use interactive games as a method of reward. Students might not feel like they’re learning because they’re playing a fun game as reward for their hard work. They’re still learning, and sometimes, they’re learning about new topics. Another way to integrate interactive games as a reward is to have high-effort students play interactive games at home as homework. There are a wide variety of government resources with games specific to certain topics. In low-stress times of the year and during summer months, teachers can recommend interactive, safe games for those with an internet connection. On the other hand, these games can be reviewed in class or can be provided to students who have finished tasks early. Science teachers can get their students involved with the Curiosity mission on Mars. History and social studies teachers can have their students memorize the locations of the states or other countries. Math students can practice their graph skills quickly and easily with online tools. So often, lagging students need extra help, and some students of the class have understood everything. Those students can get extra attention while others can play these fun games for their homework.
So long as there is diversity among learners, there will be students who require interactive lessons. Utilize both easy, dry erase board games and internet games to enhance your class experience. In addition, you’ll be able to see clearly who knows what and what areas require more explanation. Games are integral to learning, memorizing, socializing, and making class more fun!
Dry Erase Board Games for the Classroom
- Vocabulary Games for the Classroom
- Vocab Games and Activities (For Spanish or English)
- Rules and Suggestions for Whiteboard Jeopardy (PDF)
- Using the Whiteboard with Science Students
- Magic Balloon Engineering Exercise
- Science Pictionary
- Who Wants to be a Millionaire (With Math)?
Interactive Student Games for Home
- Math: Number Sense
- Math: Algebra Quiz
- Math: Create a Graph
- Lure of the Labyrinth
- English: Readers to the Rescue
- Art: Still Life
- Science: Rocket Science 101
- Science: Galaxies Galore
- Science: Amusement Park Physics
- American History: Citizenship Quiz
- History: Drive Through Time
- History: Digging for Answers
- Social Studies: World Exploration
- Other Classroom Needs: What Happens Next? Anti-Bullying Game
- Other Classroom Needs: Online Safety With Surf Island