Most students (and teachers too!) dread the testing season. Unfortunately, testing is something we have to deal with whether we like it or not. Fortunately, test prep doesn’t have to be a vibe killer. Here are several engaging test prep activities to keep your students fired up about math.
One of my students’ all-time favorite games is trashketball. This game is simple and easy to set up and play. Most of the time, I display a set of Boom Cards through the data projector using the free starter membership.
What you need:
- problems for students to solve
Trashketball is so low-prep and quick that we can play with just a few minutes of class left. The most time-consuming part is getting out a set of task cards or pulling up the Boom Cards I want to use.
To play, I divide my class into teams – usually boys against girls. Then, I display a problem and have both teams solve the problem. If the answer is correct, the team earns a point and the chance to shoot a basket to earn additional points for their team.
To make the game even more exciting, students can earn extra points for making a basket from further away. When the class gets too talkative, I start giving points to the opponent whenever someone talks. It’s amazing how much self-control students have when it’s important to them!
Get more details about using trashketball as a test prep activity.
Oh, how my students love a quick game of Quizziz!
Quizziz is an online tool similar to Kahoot that allows students to answer questions in a game show format. Not only is Quizziz easy to use, but it’s also very engaging.
What you need:
- free Quizziz account
- a free quiz from the Quizziz library (or create your own)
- student devices with internet connectivity
My students love creating their own game names. I always get a good laugh over the names my students choose. Quizziz also includes a name factory that automatically generates fun, kid-appropriate names for students as an alternative to students creating their own names.
If we have time to play multiple rounds, I’ll join in the game without the kids knowing or I’ll secretly send the game code to the secretary so she can play along with us. The kids are amazed that people outside of our classroom can play along with them.
I love that students can answer at their own pace. Even though I enjoy using Kahoot, taking the time factor helps play without getting stressed.
Learn more about using Quizziz in the classroom.
black Light test prep activities
When it’s time to go all-in during testing season, this is the activity I turn to. While the other activities are low-prep, using black lights requires extra effort, but is certainly worth it.
Basic supplies for black light math:
- Black lights
Black lights are the most expensive part of this project. Luckily, this is a one-time expense. You will also need a class set of highlighters. Not all fluorescent highlighters glow in the dark, so test them out beforehand.
Not only do kids get excited about black light math, but they also become super-engaged which makes this one of my favorite test prep activities. Students who are resistant to showing work, put forth more effort because they are fascinated by the novelty of “glowing” work.
Read more about how I captivated my students with a glowing math wonderland.
Jeopardy style Games
Jeopardy-style games are a class favorite. With these games, I can keep my students excited about learning while exposing them to test-formatted questions.
Setup is a breeze:
- Put students into groups.
- Display the game through your data projector
- Have students answer the questions and discuss their answers with their group
- Award points for correct answers
The collaborative nature of this game makes for great discussions. Not only will students be justifying their answers with their teammates, but they can also explain their thinking to the whole class. Opening up these types of discussions makes the game move a little slower, but the benefit is well worth it. These games contain enough practice to span multiple class periods.
Although I don’t like to put too much emphasis on test prep, I do want to make sure my students are prepared. It’s important to me to do this in a fun, light-hearted way. These test prep activities ensure my students are ready for tests without stressing them or boring them to tears.