A student was telling me about a great Fashion History class she had where the teacher played a Jeopardy style game to help the students prepare for their upcoming test. She said that it was “so much fun and that if anybody had walked by” they would have thought that “something wrong was going on because people were laughing and standing up out of their chairs and yelling out answers”. She enjoyed this and she retained information so she was well prepared for her test.
This was a lecture-based class where students usually listen and don’t often participate. These types of classroom games are useful when the subject demands memorization and understanding new terminology. Classes such as Apparel Evaluation are a great example where these games are useful, as students have to memorize ASTM sewing codes, different machinery used in apparel manufacturing, among other information. Adding the fun, stress free feeling of a game helps students relax and will get all the students to participate, so you are able to see who is prepared and who still has studying to do. It also takes time to create these games. Although most work can be done with computer software and using cut & paste to transfer your lecture information to index cards, it still takes a few hours to complete these games. I have wanted to create an online game for some of my courses but have not had the time to work on that yet.
I taught a Textiles laboratory class that is very term heavy and it is usually tough for students since there is so much memorization. To prepare for the midterm exam, I played a Textiles card game that was created by a TA where students broke up into groups and scored points for each correct answer. I was told by another teacher that I could bring candy and hand it out when they got a correct answer but I didn’t want to do that. At first my students were more annoyed than excited at playing this game. But after we started playing, they began to have fun. They saw what information they already knew and what they needed to work on. They also heard advice on how to recognize a twill weave or identifying a roller print vs. a screen print from their classmates. It was nice to see the groups working together and sharing their study tips. Towards the end of the class a student did ask me “ what does the winner get?” My answer was “the reassurance that you will do well on your test.”
Have you ever played any classroom games to help your students learn or retain information? Do you think it is worth the time?
Post it in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.