February 23, 2017

Shoestring Teaching: The Multipurpose Game Board

Need a get-the-job-done, dirt cheap option for reviewing content in the classroom? These multipurpose game boards always did it for me. Read on to find out how to make them.

•Take an extra large piece of oak-tag or other strong paperboard similar to a file folder, and visually divide it into 3-5 inch squares using a ruler and a permanent marker.
•Next, laminate the piece.
•You will need a writing tool that you can clean off from the laminated surface such as an overhead marker or a grease pencil.
•You will also need a flat rubber ring at least 3-4 inches across, such as a rubber ring for a canning jar or an automotive part.

Congratulations! Now you have a reusable game board for reviewing various classroom concepts. And that’s not all! You can also integrate basic math skills at the same time. Here’s how it works:

•Using your washable writing tool, carefully record questions from language arts, science, social studies, etc, into each empty square, making sure you have the answers on hand for cross reference.
•You will also need to record a point value for each square in the corner(s).
•This is where the math integration comes in. Early primary grade educators may only wish to have 1-2 points per square, where other grades may select higher point values to integrate column addition. Advanced classes may even include a small math problem in each corner in addition to the other question to force students to solve what the point value is before adding it to their point totals.
•For each turn, have a student toss the rubber ring randomly onto the game board. The rubber material provides a natural “cling” against the laminating film, helping it to grip the board when landing rather than continuing to slide.
•If the ring falls on one square only, students have a chance to answer only that question, and therefore earn points for that square only. If the ring lands where it overlaps two or more squares, then learners are allowed to attempt to answer all of the questions within the ring’s circumference.
•This would mean of course that they were also allowed to tally any and all points from correctly answered questions. As the educator, you decide if you want each student to tally each point score as a group activity, or to simply record the team or individual points on the board, solving the math together orally.

Still not inexpensive enough for you? No problem. You can either shrink or enlarge the size of this game board and still save money. To make a smaller version, use a piece of photocopy paper with the grid, questions and point values printed on it from the computer (small font). Slide this paper into a clear sheet protector and use a smaller rubber ring. For a larger version, use a large, flat piece of discarded cardboard from a large box. Draw on the grid lines with a yard / meter stick and a permanent marker. Then, cover with clear contact paper.

The rest of the directions are the same as for the original game board. However, for the extra large version you may want to explore larger ring options, such as a ring-toss game pieces or homemade bean bags.

So there you have it, readers. One game board with unlimited content review and introduction options. Simple. Cheap. Effective. Bonus? Kids dig it.

Photo Credit: Justin

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