I love bar trivia. If you’ve never played, bar trivia is a popular form of entertainment where patrons gather at a bar or pub to participate in a trivia game. These games are typically hosted by a trivia master or DJ and consist of multiple rounds of questions covering a variety of topics such as history, pop culture, sports, and science. Participants can form teams and compete against each other for prizes or simply enjoy the game with friends. The atmosphere at a bar trivia night is usually lively and social, making it a fun way to spend an evening out. I love the competition and the excitement of knowing a random piece of information and I wanted to include Trivia games in my middle school science classroom.
Playing trivia games in middle school science can be an effective way to incorporate some fun into your classroom. They can be used as a review tool to reinforce key concepts, introduce new information, or as a form of assessment.
Trivia to reinforce concepts
One way to use trivia games in science class is to create a game that focuses on the current unit of study. When using trivia to review and reinforce, students love creating clever team names and competing for prizes. For example, if the class is studying the solar system, the teacher could create a trivia game that covers facts about the planets, their moons, and their orbits. This can help students retain important information and make connections between different celestial bodies. As a formative assessment, trivia is a more engaging and less stressful way to assess student learning than traditional tests or quizzes.
In addition to creating their own trivia games, teachers can also use pre-made games or apps to incorporate trivia into their science lessons. For example, Quizlet is a popular app that allows teachers to create and share flashcards, quizzes, and games with their students. It can be used to review material, reinforce key concepts, or introduce new information. I played “Dinosaur Trivia” with my seventh graders on the day before the geologic time assessment.
Trivia for SEL
Finally, trivia games can also be used to build teamwork and collaboration among students. Social-emotional learning is always on my mind these days. Kids forgot how to communicate and collaborate, and using a competitive game helps my middle schoolers practice those skills. This can help students learn to work together, communicate effectively, and build a sense of camaraderie in the classroom. Trivia games are also fun to play on that day before a holiday or a break. I use general knowledge trivia games like “How much do you know about Earth Day.”
How to play a trivia game with your middle schoolers
1. Divide your class into teams.
2. Have each team choose a team name and write it on 4 sheets of paper – one sheet of paper for each round of play.
3. Share the round 1 questions. I use a Slide Show so I can include cute images or clipart. As you share the questions, allow teams to discuss and write their answers on the response card for round 1.
4. Collect round 1 response cards and score them. I like to enter scores on a digital score card, but writing scores on the white board works just fine.
5. Share the round 1 answers. Again, I use the Slide Show.
6. Repeat for rounds 2, 3, and 4.
7. Announce the winners. Write their team name on a fun confetti filled slide or give them noise makers for the last minute or two of class.
Try a free trivia game here
I created an animal kingdom trivia game to introduce March Mammal Madness (If you’ve never played MMM, it’s fantastic – my students talk about it for YEARS! More about MMM in a later blog post). Students compete in 4 rounds of play – collective names for animal groups, domesticated animals, animals of sea and sky, and apex predators. There are 5 questions per round. You can download a free copy of the Animal Kingdom trivia game here.
Overall, trivia games can be a great way to make science education fun and engaging for middle school students. They can be used to review material, reinforce key concepts, introduce new information, and assess student learning. Additionally, they can also be used to build teamwork and collaboration among students. Teachers can use a variety of methods to incorporate trivia games into their science lessons, such as creating their own games, using pre-made games or apps, and dividing the class into teams. How do you play trivia games in your classroom?