Saturday, January 30, 2016

#MTBoS - Favorite Review Game

As part of the MTBoS Blogging initiative, I'm going to share one of my favorite games to play with my students when reviewing.  I'm a little late on this post, but wanted to share anyway.

The game is called relay race and it works almost like the relay races you used to play in gym class as a kid.  I arrange the kids in rows and each row represents a team.  I let the teams pick out a name to represent themselves and we put the team names on the board to keep track of points.  Each student has a small whiteboard and a marker.  I have a set of cards with the questions or problems on them, with the same questions/card for each row.  For example if I have 6 rows in my classroom, I would have 6 cards of each question.

The game starts by me putting the first question card on the first desk of each row, face down.  The first person in each row is not allowed to turn the card over until I say go.   When I say go, the first person in the row looks at the question and writes down all important information they need to solve on their white board, then passes the card to the person behind them.  Students are told to not start working on the problem until they have passed the card to the next person in their row, so that time is not wasted.  The second person in the row then proceeds to write down the information for the problem on their white board, and then pass to the third person in the row.  By the time the last person in the row receives the card, everyone else in their row has seen the problem and is working on the problem.  As students finish the problem, I tell them to keep their board covered so others cannot see their answer, as sharing answers results in a team penalty.

The round is over when the one of the students who is last in their row is finished and stands up.  Everyone now has to put their markers down and the round is over. I then have all the students hold up their white boards and I give a point for each correct answer in their row.  I keep a key for the questions on a clipboard for quick checking after each round.  Points are tallied on the front board.

For the next round, the students that were last in their row now come to the front and are first in their row,  everyone else moves back one seat.  This assures that it is a different person who is last in the row each time, eliminating any complaints about how the slowest person is last,etc.  I also do random bonus rounds which award 2X the points or 3X the points to keep things lively and to give hope to those teams that have gotten themselves really behind.  There is also a punishment for sharing answers, the team loses all the current points that they have. This keeps them pretty honest.

My kids absolutely love this game and it works for a variety of topics from solving systems, to solving equations, to graphing parabolas, etc.  I usually prepare about 12-16 questions,  depending on the topic and that always lasts for the 50 minute class period.

Hope you enjoy!


  1. What do you do if your class does not divide evenly into teams? Do extra members "sit out" for a round?

    1. The team that is short a member gets a delayed start. They don't get to start until another team passes the card to the second person. Whoever is in the front seat of the short team gets double points for their answer. That way the potential points for each round is the same and it rotates among players.

    2. We are playing this in my PAP Algebra 2 classes today to review radicals and rational exponents and solving radical equations. First period really liked it.

      Thanks for sharing.

  2. So if the last person stands and gets it wrong, can other people in the row still get points? I'm just a little confused on the points. And does the round end when the first last person stands up or when all of the stand up?
    I can't wait to try this. It sounds really fun! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, a person can stand and still get it wrong and not earn any points for their team.

      The round ends when the first last person stands. So there will be a couple people who do not finish that questions. The good thing is that in the next round, they will go first and somebody different will be at the back.

      I look forward to hearing how it worked in your class.

  3. Great review game - thanks for sharing.