Ideas Index

"Louisiana Jeopardy Game"

Greg English
Calcasieu Parish La. History Teacher

This game board works for any subject, any grade level. I have discussed with many teachers how they used or modified it to use as a memony game for pre-school, math matching for elementary, science, grammer, or many other subject areas.

After years of drawing the game on the board I discovered an easier way to play the make the game board. I attended a "Double I M" workshop and on display was a Jeopardy Game made out of a shower curtain and zip lock bags. I studied the sample and created my own from a $2.88 Wal-Mart shower curtain.

First hang the curtain on the black/white board. Mark where the chalk/marker rail touches. Then take the curtain down and lay it out ona large flat surface. Place zip lock bags (quart size) on the curtain starting from the very top. I have found that 5-6 categories work best for a single class period, therefore, place six bags across and six down. Using clear postal tape, secure each baggie to the curtain on the left, right, and bottom sides.

When complete you should have 36 pockets for categories and point totals. The cards for the pockets are made from printer card stock. I use various colors for the numbers and the headers. Each pocket holds a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 card. My point cards are printed ononly one side while the headers are printed on both sides (different category headings).

Generally my headers include I Said - things I said in class that are not in the book, Dates - The old standby from history, Men (or Ladies) - people from the chapter, Places - Names of forts, towns, battles, rivers... , Order - Putting things in correct historical order, and Miscellaneous - All that other stuff. I also add various ones depending on the chapter - Huey, Earl, New Orleans, Borders, Rivers, and on and on.

I then create a series of questions based on these categories and type them on index cards or print them out on my computer. To see sample cards from Chapter 6 in the Clairmont text, click here. I have a set of cards for each chapter. We usually play the game the day before a chapter test as a review. Each team gets bonus point towards their test depending on how they score.

We don't play the game like TV due to the problems I have found with kids trying to give questions to answers. We play by me reading the question for the requested point total and them searching the book for the answer.

Rules for the game.

1. Divide the class into teams of 3 or 4. Larger groups tend not to work. Select one student to be the score keeper. (I always award them the bonus points of the winning team since they can not compete). Randomly pick a starting team.

2. Students may use only their textbooks during the game.

3. Each team needs to select a team spokesperson. Only they may answer the question.

4. The starting team will call for a category and point total they wish to play for.

5. Teacher reads question.

6. The team now has 60 seconds to look up or discuss the answer. At the end of 60 seconds or when the team says they are ready, I re-read the question and they give me the answer. If they are correct they get the points played for. If they give a wrong answer they lose HALF the points played for. Only the team that calls for the question can play for full points. Any team may pass at any time with no point penalty.

7. If the team gives a wrong answer or passes, the question is then asked of the next team in order and they must answer immediately (Remember, they had the other team's 60 seconds to be looking for the answer also.) I do not give them time to discuss. They either have the answer or I move on to the next team in line.

8. If the second (or third, fourth, fifth) team answers correctly, they receive half the original points played for. A miss means a loss of that many points. The team may also elect to pass with no penalty.

9. Once an answer is given correctly, play moves on to the next question. I have found over the years that the best play rotation is that if the original team gets the answer correctly, they may play again. If correct again, they get a final turn. (No more than three plays in any one turn. This keeps great teams from running up the score with no one else being able to play).

10. If the original team answers incorrectly, the questions passes on in rotation until a right answer is given or it passes all teams.

11. Once the question is passed on, no matter which team gets it right, the next question called for is by the team immediately after the previous or original team. This keeps teams from being skipped over. Certain teams may be answering all the questions but EVERY team gets to start a question - even if they can't answer it.

12. There is no score of a negative number. No matter how many misses a team has, their lowest score is only a "0". This does tend to keep everyone in the game.

13. Play continues until time or points run out. I always make my "Misc. for 50" question the hardest of the game. It makes for a great last round.

14. As each point question is called for, I turn the point card around that way everyone can see what is left on the game board.

Notes: As I have used this 'game' many times over the years. I have noticed that every child seems to learn how to quickly find information in the text. Just recently I had a student who has been a 'royal pain' in my class become the hero of a game. Seems that he may not do any homework, bounce all over class, and - well, you know the type - but he did listen to every word I said. He single-handly lead his team to victory, not missing a single question that came his team's way. He no longer gives me trouble because as he says, "I'm soakin' it all up for the next game!"
Louisiana Difference website copyright 2000 Greg English