Resource 1: Games to support learning
There are many types of board game that you can play to help students learn. Each kind will need some preparation and thought but once designed and made can be used again and again with different students.
There are board games for two to six players, where a dice has to be thrown and each person takes it in turn to move a set number of places along a route to a destination. The number of places they move can be determined by turning up a card with the numbers 1 to 6 on them or by throwing a dice and counting on from there. On the way, the players may have to answer questions on the topic and only advance if they get those right. The winner is the one who gets to the destination first.
There are many variations that you could include in these games, such as having forfeits for people to do if they get the question wrong or collecting objects on the way that have certain properties. The winner is the person with the most objects or the least forfeits when all the players get to the end.
Students can be involved in designing and making their own board games based on a topic they have studied. It is one way to see how much they have learnt and understand. It also provides a resource for them to use and play with when they have a few moments to spare and they want to remind themselves of the science they have been taught.
These can test students’ understanding of what is needed to make a bulb light. The cards can be cut from any material and the information needed written on the cards. On some of the cards draw the electrical symbols and then write their proper term on other cards (see the samples in Resource 2). You need to have the same number of pictures and words so that they make complete pairs.
All the cards are placed face down on the floor or on a table and each student takes it in turn to turn over two cards. If the word and the picture match, then the student takes the pair. If the cards do not match, the student turns the cards face down again. The next student has a turn – they again have to turn over two cards and, if the cards match, the student takes the pair. As each student turns over cards everyone will see where some cards are, and so, if they remember well, they can make up pairs when it is their turn. If a student makes a pair, they have another go before the turn passes to the next player. The winner is the one with the most pairs (symbol/picture and correct terminology or definition, e.g. the word ‘bulb’ and a small picture of a light bulb).
There are simple crosswords that you could make to test your students’ understanding of different aspects of electricity, such as electrical terms, and students could make their own crosswords too. Making up their own clues for answers will give you good insight into your students’ understanding of the concepts behind the words. They could then complete each other’s crosswords.
There are many games you could play that involve students having to move around more and still link it to science; for example, team quizzes, during which either you or a student asks the questions. The student with the right answers then runs up and around a chair and returns to the back of the team. The team that wins is the one where the leader is back at the front first.
Students could be different units in a circuit like a bulb battery and wire. You or a student calls out the kind of circuit they have to make and the students have to join up and make the circuit; e.g. one bulb, two wires and two batteries. Anyone not in a circuit drops out and the last circuit is one bulb, one wire and one cell. The students run around until you call out which circuit to make. If they stick close together as they run around they will be asked to sit out for one round. You could also use the cards provided in Resource 3, Game 2, so that students can identify which electrical component each one is as they run around.
Students are divided into teams of four to eight students. They have to answer questions either individually or collectively, where they can share ideas to answer questions set by you or other students. Sometimes the teams have to do or make something, either together or individually, but the points are given to the team. The team with most points wins.
Questions need to be prepared but the questions can be focused on a particular aspect of any science topic you want your students to deepen their understanding about. Once these questions are done, you can use them with other classes or next year.
You can vary the questions between those that ask for one-word answers and those where students have to think more about how to solve a problem. You can either ask the questions yourself or, if you have the resources, you could duplicate the question sheet and every student works on their own. The winner is the one with the highest score.