In the 7th grade social studies class, making board games is a creative way to help students to review important concepts while working in small groups.
Board Games to Review Main Concepts
These board game activities are a creative way for students to review the key information from a chapter or unit. Students will use books, notes and other resources to create great questions.
The Survive the Snake game boards can be based on culture, economics, government, history, geography and/or groups and their interactions. The second board game, Truth or Fiction, includes students being able to separate fact from fiction and being able to throw a small ball into a vessel.
Survive the Snake
This board game will use key concepts from a chapter or unit. Students will need to advance their game piece to the end of the snake shape to win.
Materials Needed: Poster board or foam board, markers, index cards, game pieces
Example Board Game Shape Download
This board game requires students to draw a snake shape. Within the snake, students will need to make "spaces" or squares for the game pieces to land on during the game. There is a download included with this lesson to help students get started. However, they can be very creative with the game board.
The board can have many twists and turns. However, you may want students to be able to complete a game in a class period. So there may need to be a maximum number of spaces to a game board. The sample has 15 spaces.
Steps for Students to Complete Boards
Step 1: Place students in small groups of two to four students. Students will need to select jobs to complete the board game:
- Game Board Designer
- Game Board Artist
- Card Organizer
- Rule Designer
The Game Board Designer needs to come up with a couple of ideas for the design of the game board. He or she should draw them on notebook paper to share with the group. The group will choose their favorite design.
The Game Board Artist can be the same person. However, if it is a different person, the designer and artist need to work together to complete a neat, colorful and creative game board.
All students should write at least 10 cards for the game that cover content in a specific unit or chapter. However, the Card Organizer will organize and coordinate the writing process.
The Rule Designer will come up with rules to share with the group. The group will discuss the rules and create a final draft of the rules. Then, the Rule Designer will type or write them neatly.
Step 3: Students will need to work together to put the game board together in class. The group needs to work as a team to complete the activity.
Step 4: After the game boards are complete, each group needs to play another group's game in the classroom. The group playing the games should rate the games on a one to five scale. Criteria ideas are as follows:
- understandable rules
- neatness and attractiveness
- variety of questions
- accurate answers
- ease of use
This game allows students to create and to review content as they create the games as well as playing the games. It is a fun activity that can bring closure to any unit or chapter.
Truth or Fiction Board Games
A second board game activity involves a large amount of true and false cards over the content. Students will need to make at least 40 cards that need to be a nice mixture of true or false statements about the content. Students can write tricky questions by adding false information to some true content.
Creating a Game Board
The Truth or Fiction board is quite simple. Two small baskets, bowls or vessels need to be attached to a foam board with the words TRUTH or FICTION written beside them. In addition, students need to bring in a small ball or object that they need to try to toss in the vessel.
This game will require a bit of skill as a student not only has to choose if the statement or fact on the card is a truth or a lie, but they must also throw an object into the correct bowl, basket or vessel to show their response.
Steps for Activity
Step 1: Divide students into small groups. This can be done in pairs or in a small group up to four students.
Step 2: Students will need to work together to decide on the rules. Is a person allowed to "try again" if he or she misses? How many points is each card worth? Can there be cards that are worth more points than others? If a person misses, will he or she have to sit out a turn?
Students also need to decide what their board will look like. They can be creative in their vessels and balls. Of course, neatness, creativity and color count.
Step 3: Student need class time to make the board game and write the cards. Each student should write at least 10 cards with a variety of true and false statements or facts.
Step 4: Groups need to play each other's games.
This is a fun review game on facts about the chapter or unit. In addition, each group can use its creativity to design the board and write the questions.