I modified my review game rules today after a conversation with a colleague in the history department. The review game is called Grudgeball and it’s fantastic. Here are the rules.
Rule #1 I can change or add rules at any time. (This gives you a lot of freedom for unexpected problems and most of the kids accept it if you state it up front.)
Rule #2 I have infinitely many points.
Rule #3 All teams start with 10 points.
Rule #4 Each team will be asked a question. If they get it wrong, the question will be passed to the next team until a team answers correctly.
Rule #5 When a team answers correctly they are guaranteed 10 points. A selected member of a team shoots the ball (a small basketball or dodgeball at the wastebasket). The further away they are, the greater the points multiplier. I did 2x up to 6x. Here is a picture of the basket and my tape lines.
And the next rule is why the game is called grudgeball and why it is so much more interesting than the version I was playing before. The key difference is
Rule #6 Students can either:
(A) Take the points from me
(B) Take the points from another team (this is why all teams start with 10 points)
Allowing students to steal POINTS rather than questions really got them into it. I am forever in debt to my colleague who told me about this simple modification to my review game. I plan to use it for years.
Rule #7 A team cannot go below 0 points.
So if a team won 20 points but all the other teams only had 10, the most they could steal would be 10. (Negatives might be an interesting game element here, but I didn’t want anyone to get too discouraged and give up.)
The difference between grudgeball rules and the rules I was playing before was all the difference in the world. I had a much higher engagement (not 100% but higher) and the competition was increased precisely because I had some savage students who stole from other teams on the very first round. Some classes kept taking from me the available points continued to increase and other classes only had about 80 points between all of the teams that they just kept taking from each other. There’s a great economics lesson in there too, I’m sure. Rule #1 is great for making sure that the students behave and also evening the playing field if one team is pulling too far ahead and the other teams start to lose interest. If a team is talking to loudly I might dock 10 points. I adjust the difficulty of the questions based on how the teams are doing.
We had a lot of fun today.