Social Studies Game: Who Am I?
When you're teaching anything, engaging your students is key. A fantastic way to get students actively participating is by using educational games, which can provide a break from the regular classroom routine, reinforce prior knowledge, and foster a better classroom environment.
Do you use educational games in your classroom?
Who Am I?
The "Who Am I?" game can be played with students of all ages from late elementary school through high school. I think of it as a social studies game because I am certified to teach secondary social studies, but it can be adapted to other humanities subjects. The game is designed to review class material, get the class working as a group, and engage creative thinking skills.
- Chalkboard, whiteboard, or SMART board
- A chair, stool, or desk at the front of the room
In preparation for the game, draw up a list of important figures studied recently in class. These important figures could be historical people, characters in a work of literature, or even artists.
At the beginning of class, or when you're ready to begin playing the game, position a desk or chair at the front of the room so that the student occupying this seat will be facing the class with a whiteboard, chalkboard, or SMART board behind him/her. If your classroom does not have a board at the head of the room, you can simply write the names in marker on a sheet of paper and tape it to the wall behind the student who is currently "it."
Choose a volunteer to be "it." This student will occupy the seat at the head of the class. After s/he is seated, write a name from your prepared list on the board behind his/her head. The student may not turn around to look at the name, but s/he may ask up to 20 yes or no questions of the class to determine whose name is written on the board or, in other words, who s/he "is."
Once the student has either correctly guessed the name on the board or has run out of questions, a new student becomes "it" and a new round of the game begins with a different name.
It: Am I a man?
It: Did I sign the Declaration of Independence?
It: Is my name John?
It: Am I John Hancock?
It: Am I John Adams?
Whether or not you offer incentives is, obviously, up to you. I personally do not like offering extra credit in classes with a required end of course test but am a little more lenient with elective courses. Other prizes, like candy, pencils, stickers, or whatever is grade level appropriate can work well, too. I've found that a lot of times students don't really need an added incentive because they simply want to do well in front of their classmates. It depends entirely on your course and students!
Educational Games and Active Learning
Active learning—getting students involved—is a major trend in education because it works. When students actively participate, instead of sitting there passively taking in information (hopefully!) all day every day, they retain more and feel like they have an stake in their education. Even if you only use educational games once in a while, bringing them into your lesson plans can help your students stay focused and involved with their learning. I like the "Who Am I?" game a lot because it can be adapted to different grade levels and subjects, and it's easy to have on tap as an extra activity if you finish your planned lesson ahead of time. No matter when you use it, I hope your students enjoy playing this educational game!