Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tonight's online trivia game: Engaging students over the snow days

I tried something new tonight.  We haven't had school since last Thursday and we're not having school tomorrow, all because of the blizzard.  I wanted to organize something teacher directed, but would be heavy on the engagement and light on the rigors of class.  So I set up a trivia game.
The game was called "Who's on Mount Rushmore?"  It was a series of questions about U.S. History and Geography I wrote several years ago as an after-the-AP-Exam activity for my students.  But I haven't used the questions much in recent years because we have had to pivot right from AP review to reviewing for our state end-of-course exams.

These questions were drafted with the mindset that they would never (or should never) be on one of our exams.  The answers are easy to look up, some they might actually know, they demonstrate no critical understanding, and honestly really don't matter.  That's why they're trivia!

Some of the questions tonight were--
  1. Who's on Mount Rushmore?
  2. Name the two signers of the Declaration of Independence who went on to be elected president.
  3. Name the two former presidents buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
  4. Name the last of the original 13 states to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
Answers: (1) Washington, Jefferson, TR, and Lincoln; (2) John Adams and TJ; (3) JFK and Taft; (4) Rhode Island.

We conducted the game in a classroom I set up in TodaysMeet.  I used Remind to notify my current students, and Twitter to invite all students past and present to participate.

I can state categorically that this was a lot of fun.  The participating students (okay, not a large number) were enthusiastic and eager to participate.  Their enthusiasm did not wane during the 45 minutes they want at it.  At the end, everyone was a winner.  I have gift cards from Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts to hand out when we get back to school next week.  And they are already asking me when we will do this again...and we will!

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