Mystery Box

What You Need

  • A small box
  • Objects related to units of study that fit inside the box

What to Do

David Wickham, a teacher at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia, says Mystery Box is a favorite with his history students.

  1. To review for year-end exams, present your classes with a box that contains an object. (For example, include a Susan B. Anthony silver dollar in the box for women’s suffrage.) Announce which unit of study the mystery object represents and then pass the box around the room.
  2. When a student holds the box, he or she can ask one yes-or-no question that you can answer before the box is passed to the next student. After all students have asked a question, they try to guess the item and explain how it relates to the unit of study.

Standard Met CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2

Word Twister

What You Need

  • Paper
  • Plastic protective sleeves
  • Double-sided Velcro
  • Timer
  • Twister game mat for each group (or create your own)
  • Twister spinner

What to Do

Mandi McKibben turns the traditional Twister game into a vocabulary review for her students at Mid-America Preparatory School in Herrick, Illinois.

  1. Write one vocabulary word each on 24 sheets of paper and slip each sheet into a plastic protective sleeve. Then place a square of Velcro on the back of each sleeve and adhere matching Velcro squares to the circles on the Twister mats. This way, the vocabulary word sleeves stick to the circles.
  2. To play, assign four students to each playing mat. Give each student a number — Players 1, 2, 3, and 4. Set a timer to begin the game.
  3. Read the definition of a word and then call a player number (Player 1, for example). The selected player from each team must guess the word that goes with the definition. The Player 1 who answers correctly first scores a point for his or her team. Flick the Twister spinner, and all Player 1’s put their correct foot or hand on the vocabulary word.
  4. Play continues with the next set of players. Students who fall are out. When the timer sounds, the team with the most points wins.

Standards Met CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.4; L.6

Life-Size Candy Land

What You Need

  • Laminated sheets of construction paper in five different colors
  • Four to six squares labeled with Candy Land locations (e.g., Molasses Swamp) or locations named after a unit of study (e.g., historical landmarks)
  • Individual dry-erase boards and markers
  • Game cards, each with either one or two same-colored squares or the name of one of the locations

What to Do

McKibben’s students also play a life-size version of Candy Land to review content before a test.

  1. Using the laminated squares and location squares, set up a winding path around the classroom.
  2. Ask students a review question that corresponds with the particular unit of study. Each student writes his or her response on a dry-erase board. If students display the correct answer, they draw a game card and move to the next square as indicated on the card. The student who makes it to the end of the path first is the winner.

Standard Met  Various standards depending on content reviewed

Sorry! Solutions

What You Need

  • Roll of white butcher paper
  • Tape
  • Construction paper
  • Colored index cards
  • Individual dry-erase boards and markers

What to Do

Tiffany Haley, a math teacher at Baird High School in Texas, uses a giant version of Sorry! to review math content.

  1. To set up the game, arrange desks in a closed square. Unroll white butcher paper across the tops of the desks, then cut and paste construction-­paper squares for the track, circles for the start, mini-squares for safe zones, and pentagons for home. Students can create cubes out of colored paper to use as pawns, with four cubes per team.
  2. You may be able to find printable Sorry! game cards online or create your own. (These give directions such as “Move pawn backward four spaces.”) Also, write equations on one side of index cards and solutions on the other, then color-code the cards by difficulty level.
  3. To play, give each team of four students a stack of index cards. Drawing one card at a time, students should write their solutions on dry-erase boards, and then compare their work with that of their teammates.
  4. When they agree on a solution, they should turn their card over to check their answer. If they are correct, they can raise their hands to draw a game card and move a pawn accordingly. 

Standard Met Various math standards depending on content reviewed


Click Here to Subscribe to Scholastic Teacher Magazine