School can be boring. On any given day much of what students do is the same as what they did on the day before. Imagine, then, trying to remember concepts and content when you’re in an exam when everything blurs into the next.
Last year I tried to remedy this by playing party games with my year 12s as part of our revision process. The highlight was pass-the-parcel. Typical of most children’s parties nowadays, each layer of the parcel contained a chocolate. The twist was that each chocolate had a strip of paper wrapped around it. This bit of paper featured a question pertaining to our class content and students needed to get the question right in order to get the prize, otherwise it went into a bowl in the middle of the group.
My current year 12s knew about these games and have repeatedly asked to do the same so today we played beer pong and spin the bottle.
The play we’ve been studying, Blackrock, is a criticism of the prevalence of alcohol in Australian society and the tragic events which can stem from alcohol abuse. It was because of this that I made our games typical of parties where alcohol is involved.
Beer pong should probably have been renamed ‘quiz pong’ or something equally lame. In our version, students threw balls into the cups and then had to answer the question therein – I had spare questions to replace any they couldn’t answer. If they got the question right, the cup was removed and the winning team was the one who got rid of all the cups they were aiming for.
Spin the bottle was just an exercise in demonstrating text knowledge by rattling off quotes from the text. The students would take their spin and then ask whoever the bottle pointed at to give them a piece of dialogue, some stage directions or a reference to a significant prop.
I’m hoping that this made revision more memorable and that it breeds student success.