Academic studies coincide with textbooks but interactive lessons can go a long way in spicing up the atmosphere. Read on as I take a look at the top 7 educational game show ideas that you can incorporate in your next class!
1. The Price is Right
The ESL shopping game show idea originates from an English TV game show. The game is used for a multitude of things such as teaching shopping, prices or even numbers.
Initially, the students are divided into two groups and each team should be handed pieces of paper. Each team has to decide a team name for themselves after which a scoreboard should be drawn on the board.
The teams are shown a picture of a product. The focus of the game is for each team to guess the value of the product – the guess must be the correct value or lower for victory. Each team its price on the paper given. Write each team’s estimated price on the board and after all teams have submitted their estimations, reveal the actual price of the product. Any team that guessed more than the actual price loses and the team with the closest value to the actual price wins the round, scoring themselves 10 points.
2. Who wants to be a millionaire?
Here’s one of exciting game show ideas from the hit TV show ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’.
Firstly, divide the class into two teams and place two chairs in front of the class. Next, write ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ on the board for each team. One player from each team sits on the chair in the front of the class and one player is asked a question worth $100. Give each player adequate time to contemplate their answer and if possible, encourage players to explain the thought process behind the answer given. None of the player’s teammates are allowed to aid the player. You may put a tick next to $100 provided the player answers the question correctly. Replicate the process for the other player. If both players successfully answer the question, two new players repeat the process for $200 and so forth.
Three lifelines are given to each team to be used in the event that a player is unsure of their answer.
- Fifty-Fifty – Two false answers are removed, leaving one false answer and the right answer.
- Ask your friend – Choose another classmate for help in answering the question.
- Ask your team – Ask the rest of the team for their opinion on the right answer. A quick poll can help come to a decisiono.
When a player answers incorrectly, their team loses. The remaining team continues to answer the questions to try their hand at becoming a millionaire!
3. The Amazing Race
Over its many seasons, the concept of the TV show has remained the same. Teams race each other across the world and the show follows a progressive elimination style where the team that reaches the checkpoint last is eliminated.
It begins in the US and teams must uncover clues and follow the instructions to make their way to other checkpoints located across the world before journeying back to the US for the final stretch. During their travels through countries, they will go through tasks that represent the culture of the country or region they are in. Participants are given only limited possessions and just enough money for traveling with the exception of airline tickets which are purchased by a production team issued credit card.
Unsatisfied with watching the action, I finally decided I needed a slice of it too. You can read how I planned my Amazing Race Classroom Edition here!
4. Wheel of Fortune
This is a perfect 3 in 1 game to teach vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation simultaneously.
- Three teams
- A spinning wheel with dollar values in each wedge.
- List of phrases or expressions in the target language. These may be anything from phrases that were already taught to more advanced uncommon phrases.
Select a phrase and write it on the board with blanks in between, similar to the game hangman. Each team then spins the wheel for a dollar value and work together to guess each letter. In the event that the selected letter is on the chosen expression, they keep the dollar amount but it is multiplied by the number of times that letter showed up.
Each team gets one spin per turn, regardless of whether their guess was right or wrong. The team may guess the whole expression when they’re ready to solve the phrase – if the answer is correct, they keep the cash from the said round.
This ESL activity is most efficient for transitioning and advanced classes as they cover beyond just grammar and vocabulary; Jeopardy is a handy tool to review concepts of History, Geography etc. prior to a test.
- Three teams
- List of trivia questions & answers (Preferably 25 or more, but it depends on the class size)
- A dynamic presentation platform such as PowerPoint. You can find game templates similar to Jeopardy online such as Instant Jeopardy Review or Jeopardy Rocks.
A Jeopardy board needs to be column-wise with topics, with the difficulty of each question increasing as the number of points for each question increases. The rest of the class is only allowed to see the categories and point values. Divide the class into three teams and each team take turns selecting a square on the board and answering the corresponding questions.
Each team only gets one question per turn, regardless of whether their answer is correct. Once all the squares are out, the team that scored the most points emerges victorious.
6. Minute to Win It
I use Minute to Win It games for kids at school for end of the year fun but they are perfect to use as a reward, a celebration, a brain break, or anytime that everyone needs a good laugh! It is probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen and I look forward to these activities more than the kids!
You can play the game just like the TV show or you can play them how you want! In my case, I divide my class into teams of 4-5 but I let them pick their teammates. Each team gets to play every game; however, most games are individual games so they have to decide which teammate plays for each round.
Each team takes turns to do the task in 1 minute. If the team finishes the game in the minute, they get a fixed point as follows: 1st place (fastest) = 3 points; 2nd place = 2 points; 3rd place = 1 point. If they don’t complete the task, they don’t get a point. Then I add the total points at the end of the game and award prizes to the winners. I love playing this way because every team gets to play every game!
Check out these 10 Minute to Win It games that are the perfect great to play in your classroom and can be implemented with very few supplies!
7. Family Feud
Group students into teams of four or five students each. Each team needs to appoint a captain that will make the team’s final decisions and act as the mediator for the team.
After the teams have been organized, the first question has to be queried. In round 1, only the captains of each round are allowed to answer. After the question has been read, the team captain that raises his or her hand first is allowed to answer first. A point is awarded if the question is answered within 5 seconds. If the answer isn’t proven within 5 seconds or the answer is incorrect, another team may “steal” the query. Members of the next team may discuss the question before the captain announces their final answer. If the answer is correct, their team is awarded one point. If the answer is incorrect, another team is able to “steal” the question again, and so on.
The team that answers the question correctly is allowed to answer the next question first which is directed at the second player of that team. If the provided answer is incorrect, the question passes over to the second player of the next team. The team with the highest points is the victor.