As most educators know, students (and many teachers) absolutely love to play games. Among some of the more favorite in classes I’ve taught are math games, follow the leader type games, and always a perennial favorite; the quiz game! I’ve seen many forms of electronic quiz games, ranging from the handheld Geo-Safari devices to the widely popular game show experience of the Classroom Performance System (CPS). However, none of them offer the true integration (that is, using technology to produce a product or new understanding) that using technology in education demands of us.
That’s where PowerPoint comes in. While attending MACUL this year I attended a break out session dealing with differentiation and technology. I came away with lots of great strategies, but one in particular stuck out. By using the advanced features of PowerPoint (creating buttons, inserting actions, and linking slides to one another) it is possible to make a very nice looking, and highly functional, version of Jeopardy, complete with categories and several questions in each category. Once the layout is complete (it takes a while to make a simple template for four or more categories) it’s just a matter of plugging in the questions and answers.
Now, I know you’re thinking to yourself, “Gee, that sounds terribly practical, just spend 10 hours on the computer figuring out how to make PowerPoint act nothing like PowerPoint usually acts!” Since this is a practical site, here’s the practical solution: Yahoo. That’s right, just fire up your favorite search engine and do a search for “jeopardy template.” You will instantly find hundreds of pre-made PowerPoint templates ready for download (always be careful when downloading files to make sure they are indeed a .ppt file). After downloading it, open it up in PowerPoint and you’re ready to go. Have your students use the template to create their own Jeopardy quiz. It will take a little bit of getting used to customizing the templates, but most are straight forward enough that after the first quiz students can create their own quizzes on any number of subjects from Science Reviews to Famous Iambic Poetry.
I’ve used the templates myself with fifth graders during an after school study program. Not only were they highly engaged, trying to create questions for each other that weren’t too difficult yet not too easy, but they loved sharing their finished quizzes with the class and having people play their finished product. Remember, if you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, don’t. There are templates out there for almost anything, so feel free to try searches for “powerpoint jeopardy,” “jeopardy quizzes,” or get specific with something like “powerpoint jeopardy math.”