Let me begin by saying, “I LOVE using board games in Science!” Well, not just in Science, in my classroom in general. They are so diverse and students love them too.
Why should I Use Board Games in Science?
Board games offer our students an opportunity to learn through play. If you had to pose the same questions in a worksheet and in a board game, which activity do you think your students would choose? Mine would choose the game over and over again.
Now I’m not saying you should replace all your worksheets with board games, I am merely suggesting using board games in Science as an additional method for reviewing work.
Prepping board games can be time consuming, but if you store them carefully and teach your students how to handle them, they should give you and your students many years of fun learning experiences. Check out my easy-to-prep Science board game options here.
Using board games in Science offers a fun and interactive was to practice and recall the facts learnt.
When Should I Use Board Games in Science?
Great question! There are many opportunities where you could use games to review work or enhance your students’ knowledge. Using board games in Science offers great consolidation of topics learnt.
Let’s take a look at some appropriate times to use board games:
Small Group Work
We all know our kids love working in small groups. It gives them an opportunity to interact with their peers during class time. It teaches them how to take turns, consider others’ opinions, work with people they wouldn’t normally work with, and collaborate to achieve one goal.
Using board games, such as my Science easy-to-prep games, give students an opportunity to develop these skills and revise work that they have been taught. Each group will be actively involved in the learning experience and will be held accountable by the other group members.
I used board games in small groups very often in my classroom. I would teach a concept, play a game to consolidate the concept, and then have my students complete an activity, like a worksheet, where they record their answers. They would wait in anticipation for the game to start and would more often than not, ask if they could play the game at a later stage again.
Have you taught a split grade class before? Having two different age groups in the same class learning different work, is no joke! It is so important to have constructive work for the one group while you are busy with the other. This allows each group to get effective instruction on the topic being taught.
Cue board games! Board games offer the perfect solution to keep your one group actively engaged while the other group is being taught a new concept. Because students are playing in a small group, they are able to solve problems together rather than asking for help. Worksheets are also an option, but when a student needs help, they can not continue until they have asked the teacher. With games, their peers help and the game can continue.
This! I had a shelf in my classroom and after introducing a game to my students, it would go onto the Games Shelf. My students would know that when they have completed their task in class, they are allowed to choose a game, sit on the mat and play in small groups.
I loved how different groups were formed. As individuals completed their work, they would join a group on the mat. Always interacting with new students. Because they had already played the game, they knew how to play. It was always interesting to see which games they chose.
If I thought the class needed more attention in a certain concept, I would allocate those games to the shelf.
I love using centers in my classroom. I think it gives students the responsibility to choose and complete their tasks. Usually when children are given a choice, they are more likely to follow through with the chosen activity
Board games offer great options for small group center activities, for all the reasons listed above.
Have you ever been in the situation where you need a Sub at the last minute and find yourself unprepared? Having access to already prepared or easy-to prepare board games, makes it easy to allocate a task for the Sub. If your students are familiar with playing board games in the class, they will know the systems, instructions and most importantly, how to take care of the games. The games offer a great consolidation activity to any topic and will ensure the Sub uses the time meaningfully while you are out of the classroom.
I hope I have encouraged you to put in the extra effort too prepare board games for your students and include them in your everyday teaching routine. You won’t be sorry!
If your students enjoy activities where they are responsible for their learning and enjoy inquiring about different topics, you may want to check out this post where I discuss the importance of inquiry-based learning and how to use it in your classroom.