Create an Easy Review Game Your Students Will Love! - History Gal

Create an Easy Review Game Your Students Will Love!

By History Gal
It's a fact: tests raise stress levels. Midterm and final exams are incredibly stressful for high school students. A few years ago (Ahem, it's not polite to ask how many!), I wanted a fun way for students to review the content that would be on their midterm exam, so I created  a game I call 1-2-3 Draw! It's a variation on drawing games that you may have played when you were younger and it works for all subjects - not just history!

What you need for the game:
- vocabulary words or identifications typed or written on cards (you can either include a definition or not) a timer (egg timer, stop watch, phone, old school clock etc.)
- markers, dry erase markers, chalk, etc. for the students to use when it is their turn to draw
- a place for a student to draw a picture so that their classmates can see it (chalkboard, whiteboard, butcher paper taped to the wall, an easel and paper, etc.)

The game:
- Divide your class into two teams
- Teams will rotate turns
- When it is their turn, teams will send up a person to draw (I like to have every student take a turn drawing BUT if I have a student who really doesn't want to, I let them be the person who tracks the time or keeps score)
- The student drawing randomly picks a card with the vocabulary term or identification and has ONE MINUTE to get his or her team members to call out the term or identification based only on the clues he/she has drawn. A drawing caveats: students cannot draw letters or numbers.
- If the teams calls out the correct term, they get a point. If time runs out before they guess correctly, the other teams has an opportunity to steal the point. They get one chance to give an answer.
- The game continues until all the cards have been drawn (or let them keep playing until your allotted time runs out. The more they encounter the terms, the more they will remember them for the test)
- Rent a Hero: Once teams have points, the student drawing can "rent a hero" and pay 1 point for someone on his/her team to help brainstorm about what to draw. The hero and the student drawer get 30 seconds of secretive brainstorming before the student begins to draw. The hero may not participate in calling out answers for the team. If the team guesses correctly, they get 2 points instead of the 1.
- All Play (AP) cards:  Make a few of the more complex terms or terms harder to draw All Play cards by adding AP to the corner of the card. When an All Play card is drawn, both teams get to send up a person to draw. The first team to call out the correct term, gets the point and gets to go again.

There is no right or wrong way to play. Be creative and add different elements. The important part is that students are actively engaging in content that they need for their exam. It is a game that my students love and one that I use to prepare students for unit tests, midterms, and finals. Leave a comment and let me know how you used it in your class!

Jump over to Tools for Teaching Teens to watch a video explanation of the game.

Here are some games from my Teachers Pay Teachers store that are already made for you!

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  1. This is so cool, Andrea! Thanks so much for the templates and ready-made games--these are so useful!

  2. This looks like a perfect way to have keep students engaged in a meaningful way when we finish the lesson too early, as well as for exam prep. I'll try this out with my Geography students before ether next test. ~Stephanie

  3. Great review game. Thanks for the thoughtful idea. Can't wait to try.


  4. Thank you for this wonderful idea. Getting students excited about reviewing vocabulary is no small task.


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