Review days can get so tedious if you rely on worksheets or study packets, but it takes forever to put together anything too fancy or creative.
I've collected my favorite ways to convert the worksheets you already have into a fun or competitive format, so the kids can get a dense review filled with plenty of practice while still enjoying themselves!
... resulting in the perfect mix of fun and rigor!
Plus, at the end, I have added some additional review strategies, games, and activities that may work for you. Enjoy!
#1 - Tabletop CORNHOLE / Math Toss
Find something cheap that you have a lot of (tiny pretzels or dry Star Wars shaped mac n cheese noodles work well). Just make sure the pieces fit through the hole and do not melt or get sticky. Heavy things are not great, because these tabletop boards are printed on card stock.
Print the tabletop cornhole boards on heavy card stock (one per student). Each pair will assemble and set up their boards facing one another, a set distance apart (3-4 feet works well for the tabletop set). They need to also mark "elbow lines" near the back of the opponent's board (the one that is closer to their elbow).
Each player gets 4 pretzels and a set of math problems to practice with.
Both players work independently to answer their set of 4 questions or problems. Each checks the opponent's answers against a key for the other player's worksheet. Then, the players each grab the number of pretzels that corresponds to the number of questions they answered correctly (between zero and four). They take turns tossing towards the board across from them.
Click the image to download the printable tabletop board.
A pretzel that makes it into the hole is worth 3 points. A pretzel that sits on the board without making it in is worth 1 point. The first player to hit 15 without going over 15 points is the winner. (There are variations on the scoring -- you can look up more complicated scoring systems if your students want to get tricky with it.) You can also just use a set number of problems or a time limit, and the player with the higher score at the end is the winner.
#2 - GOLF
Here's how a single round (or "hole") is played:
Each student will first draw a "driver," and answer the question. If correct, the player records a "1" on the scorecard. If incorrect, it works as if they hit into the water or sand, so they have to record "2" strokes to make up for the error. Next, they each draw and answer "iron" cards and follow the same scoring procedure.
Last, they must putt until they sink it, which means they have draw and answer the trickier "putter" questions until they can answer one correctly to finish the hole and move on. After checking one another's answers, they will record the total number of strokes (or points) for that hole.
Scoring: A correct answer on a "driver" or "iron" card is worth 1, but an incorrect answer is 2. (Remember that in golf, a low score wins.) They must also add the number of putts that it took to answer a "putter" card correctly.
You can do as many "holes" as you wish, and the pair stays together, helping each other through the cards while also competing. The lower scorer is the winner.
To spice it up for golf enthusiasts, try adding challenge cards in the "driver" and "iron" stacks that allow a student to skip the next card if they get it right. Mark them as "chance for an eagle" because they allow a student to drive right onto the green, for example, avoiding the iron cards all together.
I like to use a golf-themed score card for recording points for this game, just to make it a little more fun and motivating for the kids. I love the way this game is another way to practice and pack in just as many problems as a worksheet, but with just enough of a twist to make it enjoyable. It's a great way to add some variety. Make one from your favorite review worksheet by cutting it up, or check out pre-made golf games here.
#3 - TOURNAMENT
Quick and easy questions can be cut up into a huge pile of cards and played as a "SPRINT" event. Be sure to have approximately 20 cards per student, but all quick problems to solve, or vocabulary- based questions. Pile them up in the center of the table. All 4 students in each team grab at the pile at the same time. Each student just keeps drawing and answering at his/her own pace, but sharing the pool of cards with the team. Once you grab a card, you cannot put it back. Answer it, then grab another. Some students in the team may plow through more cards than the others, but that's ok. Once the pile is gone, the team is done. Award points by giving the most to the fastest teams, and the least to the slowest teams.
Multi-step problems, like solving equations, can be converted into team "RELAY" events. Each team gets a set of 8-10 cards, and each player gets a different color marker or pen. After completing only one step of the problem or equation, the student passes it on to the next player. Each player must review all previous steps before doing their own step, because points are only earned for a completely correct card. Award 5 points per correct card.
I love the way an End-Of-Course Tournament transforms what used to be study guide days into a fun olympic-style competition in the middle school classroom.
I even use gold, silver, and bronze "medals." They look lovely attached to plastic lids and hanging around the winner's necks. Check out this one for 7th grade Common Core as an example.
#4 - TRASHKETBALL
It's another throwing game, which students love. They will definitely work hard to answer something correctly for a chance to toss anything that you make available to them.
I love that the game allows for easy differentiation and quick checking. Head over to her blog to see how she implements an amazing recording system to track student progress: Trashketball Review Game post
MORE STRATEGIES & GAMES
In a process similar to the childhood game "Telephone," students work as a team to keep a math "message" or equation/number the same as it passes throughout the group. This works for topics where things can be displayed in two different formats, because they can transfer back and forth between the two forms, hiding all but the previous line as they go.
I love designing story books that include a first person experience for the students.
As they read, they come across situations that require problem solving, decision making, and practicing math skills.
By making choices and finding solutions, they progress through the story and are directed to different pages.
The best part about these is that they are independent and partially self-correcting. Sometimes when the student makes a poor choice, eventually they may come to an explanation that helps them to re-learn a concept.
These are one of my top substitute picks, since they are self-directed. Check out versions with fractions, right triangles, systems of equations, slope & linear equations, and percent equations.
My brothers and I loved playing Risk as kids. The game goes on forever, which is half of the fun! So I set this up to work in the same way. You can certainly quit after one period, and let the player with more territories be the winner, but it is more fun to pull it out for every review session, month after month, until one player takes over the entire board.
The game can continue on throughout the semester with the same opponent, and you just need to swap out the card sets to practice new skills each time. Each "attack" requires answering an Algebra question or solving an equation. Then, finding the answer on the "Battle Results Chart" will tell whether soldiers are lost.
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