Pop quizzes are effective ways to help students better learn material. “Science” magazine referred to a study that indicated students who had taken pop quizzes scored three times better on later tests than students who did not, and they were better able to recall the information they had learned. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development also reported that using games in class could significantly increase student performance. By making pop quizzes into a game, teachers facilitate the learning process by getting their fifth-grade students more excited about and engaged with the material. Fifth-graders respond well to these games because, as Glendale-River Hills School District notes, at this grade level they are talkative, cooperative, competitive and inquisitive.
Create test questions in the style of the questions on the hit game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Each question should have four possible answers, and the questions should get progressively harder.
Assign a "money" value to each question, which increases with each question. Each "cash" prize can equate to a certain number of points that students can add to their next test or to a certain number of points that can be added into their overall GPA as an extra-credit assignment.
Provide students with a small whiteboard, marker and eraser.
Display each quiz question on an overhead projector, PowerPoint presentation or smart board. Students should write their answers on their whiteboards.
Instruct students to hold up their whiteboards to show their answers when time is up for each question. Students who answer incorrectly are out of the game and should put their whiteboards under their chairs or bring them back up to the front of the classroom.
Record the final point value for students as they strike out of the game.
Give students the option to use a lifeline by class vote. The three lifelines are "Call a Friend," "50/50" and "Ask the Audience." Since students cannot call people in class, "Call a Friend" can refer to asking the teacher. This lifeline would essentially be a free answer when students vote as a class to use it. "50/50" would reduce the possible answers by half, giving students a greater chance to choose the right answer. "Ask the Audience" would allow students to ask the students who struck out of the game for their opinion on the right answer.
Continue asking all the questions until there is a winner. Typically, a winner would answer the final $1 million question. However, if no student makes it that far, the winner would be the student who answers the highest-level question. In addition to winning the extra points for that question, the student could also win a fun reward, like a sweet treat or a nice pencil.
Items you will need
- Individual whiteboards
- Overhead projector or smart board
- Small prize, such as a sweet treat or pencil
- You can also place students in groups to play the game. Each group would work together to answer the questions, and each student would be awarded the same points at whatever level they end the game.
- Other popular game shows can be adapted to create a pop quiz, such as "Jeopardy" or "Wheel of Fortune."
- Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: The Art and Science of Teaching / Using Games to Enhance Student Achievement
- Indiana University of Pennsylvania: Instructions for Playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
- Science Magazine: The Benefits of Pop Quizzes
- Glendale-River Hills School District: Developmental Characteristics Of Fifth Graders
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images