It’s time to ditch the boring math review packets and add a little friendly competition to your math block with Review Bowl games. Using Review Bowls to review math skills before a unit test is something that I never skipped.
I scheduled one day before a test to play Review Bowl as a class, and my students always looked forward to this because they knew what to expect. Students (and I) love Review Bowls so much that I took the time to create the games with each grade level I moved to – 4th, 5th, and 6th grade.
What Are Review Bowls?
Review Bowls are PowerPoint game shows that play like Jeopardy® and cover a variety of math skills. They’re a fun, collaborative way to review content before an end-of-unit test or for end-of-grade review before state testing.
You need a computer with PowerPoint software, a way to share your computer screen (i.e., on a classroom TV, with a projector, or on a SmartBoard), and each student needs a whiteboard and marker.
How to Use Review Bowls in Your Classroom
My favorite way to use Review Bowl games is to play whole class with students broken up into teams. (Instructions for this are below.)
Teachers have used them in small group rotations, too, for a center activity.
To use Review Bowl games while distance learning or remote learning, you can screen share while in a video call with students.
Review Bowl games are created with PowerPoint and use some of PowerPoint’s features to make the game board work correctly. Unfortunately, these features don’t transfer over to Keynote or Google Slides.
How to Play Review Bowl Games Whole Class
- Students are split up into teams – if they’re currently at tables, I use their tables as the teams. Each student has a whiteboard, dry erase marker, and eraser to use.
- Chairs or stools are set up at the front of the room in front of the TV, SmartBoard, or projector so students in the “hot seat” can see the question. You need one hot seat for each team. (ex., 6 teams = 6 hot seats)
- One student per team is in a hot seat for each question. After every question, the hot seat students change.
- I draw a student’s name stick to start the game, and they choose the first topic/point value. The next student in the hot seat whose team “won” the last round gets to choose the next round’s topic/point value.
- Every student must participate in every question, even if they’re not in the hot seat. I have each student solve the problem on the whiteboard in front of them in case none of the students in the hot seats answer correctly.
- Students in the hot seat get to answer for their team. They must raise their hand once they have their answer as their way to “buzz in” (and they must show their work to earn the points).
- If the student answering in the hot seat is correct, they earn the points for their team. Each student in the hot seat can answer once.
- If all hot seat students are incorrect, I take it to the table teams. Collectively, a team must agree on one answer and if they get the answer correct, they receive half of the points that the question was worth. (ex., If the question is worth 20 points, table teams can earn 10 points.) Every team may participate in this opportunity for points, and they do not have to be first to “buzz in.” I do time this part, though, since students should have already solved during the round at their seats. (That’s why it’s so important that all students are participating during each round!)
- For the final challenge, all teams may play. They can wager up to 500 points – even if they don’t have the points. As a team, students decide how much they want to wager, and I record it on the board.
- A final challenge question and answer are included in the game. The teams work quietly together to solve the problem and give their answer to me privately. After everyone has answered, I tell reveal the correct answer and calculate the final scores.
- As an optional added benefit to being on the ball, the team that wins Review Bowl earns one bonus point on their math test.
What Other Teachers Think About Review Bowl Games
This quiz game was such a fun and engaging review activity for our test. The students were paying attention, working, and genuinely reviewing the content. Thank you for creating such an easy to implement lesson!– Mrs. R
This is one of my students’ favorite review activities. It is extremely easy to set up. The Learning Effect gives very thorough and detailed instructions on how they have used it in their class, which makes it a lot easier to set up and use in your class. I really enjoy this activity because it is a “No opt out” activity. All students have to participate, even if they are not in the “Hot Seat”. It also follows the math standards very well, so no matter what curriculum you are using, this should align with it.– Mrs. G
Students absolutely loved playing this game as a review for functions and inequalities. Students stayed engaged throughout the entire game.– Ms. N
Try a Review Bowl Math Game for Free
If you want to give the best math review a try with your students, I have 3 complete Review Bowl game shows available for free. Click the pink button below, and you’ll get access to the three activities listed here:
- Patterns, Sequences, and Line Plots Game Show | 4th Grade
- Connect Fractions and Division Game Show | 5th Grade
- Area Game Show | 6th Grade