A game of ‘Jeopardy’- assessing English grammar and math creatively

It gives me immense pleasure to see students enjoying reading or writing. The unfortunate paradox is that although language can help students build new worlds through their imagination, learning about grammar is cumbersome. Assessing a student’s understanding of grammar without undue stress can be an arduous task for an educator, and generating interest in completing an assignment seems unthinkable.

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While perusing the internet for ideas, I came across a riveting game called ‘Jeopardy.’ This American game show gained popularity in 1964. It consisted of quiz questions where contestants chose topics of varying difficulties to win money. I wondered if I could modify the format to suit my classroom requirements while having my students act as gameshow contestants. I faced the additional challenge of being online on Microsoft Teams due to the pandemic, so the game would have to be played through a shared screen.

I resolved to use MS Word as my base tool to construct the Jeopardy screen, which would contain my grammar quiz questions. I created a simple table with a header row for the points according to rising difficulty and a column for the grammar topic. I added questions pertaining to each subject and increased the difficulty level according to the point system. The questions with 10 points were the easiest, while the highest points were the toughest. The students would have to virtually raise their hand with the Teams interface and select a topic and number of award points. If they answered incorrectly, the facilitator would pass the question to the next contestant. You can see the questions that I set for the game in the adjacent picture.

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I also created text boxes with fill colors to cover the questions at the beginning of the game. In this manner, the mystery would surround the questions till the student selected the topic and number of points.

This is how the table should look at the beginning of the game
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When we began playing the same, we kept a point system for the students who answered correctly. The children were screeching with excitement and couldn’t hold their enthusiasm in as they vied for the chance to answer the questions. To my surprise, the students lunged for the most challenging questions to gain the maximum points, whereas they usually shied away from challenges in the class.

This activity gave me an insight into how secure the children were with several grammar concepts based on their selection and ability to respond to the questions correctly. Jeopardy became an instant hit, although I would advise playing in smaller groups so that every child gets a chance to try their hand at the quiz. We managed to play this successfully with 7-10 students online, although we played many rounds to ensure everyone got a turn.

This game was such a hit that we decided to take it up in the mathematics class simultaneously. We added concepts such as rounding off, addition and subtraction and treated it as a quick mental math quiz.

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Jeopardy can be used as a quick assessment to gauge how much your students have understood concepts taught in class or merely as a quick recap. If you have questions about playing Jeopardy in your class or online, do reach out through the comments below. Happy playing!

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