How teachers use a bingo review game

The bingo review game is an instrument now used by many teachers to facilitate learning. As indicated by the name, it is a tool that uses the classic bingo game format. There are several ways of executing it, and this gives the bingo review game a flexibility that many instructors may find useful for their purposes.

Before we get into a discussion of where exactly this review game tends to work best, we should discuss first how it works. Here we consider several of the ways it may be used in the classroom.

How the Bingo Review Game Works

As already mentioned, one bingo review game may differ from another in the lesson it is supposed to help students learn. As such, the “bingo cards” used for one game may be different from the ones used for another.

In the main, though, the idea is to have the “answers” to the review’s questions serve as the content filling up the cards. So while you have numbers occupying the squares in the grid of a regular bingo card, you can have anything from words to pictures to numbers again on the bingo review game cards.

The questions for the review take the place of the call-out. In regular bingo, the caller draws a number at random and calls it out so that bingo players can mark the appropriate square if that number appears on their cards.

Here, instead of calling a number, the caller voices a question. The question serves as a hint for the players, so they are expected to exercise their minds (covering the “review” aspect of the game) even as they play.

Let us take the example of a bingo review game for young children. Let us say the object of the game is to review a lesson on the names of animals and the sounds they make. The cards for this game could have grids where the squares are filled up by animals’ names. For example, one square could have the word “cat”. Another could have the word “dog”. Still another could have “monkey”, and so on.

A good question for the caller to voice for this game would run thus: “Which animal barks ‘bow-wow’?” The players would have to figure out that the answer is the dog, and then mark the square the word occupies. They keep playing this way, the caller continuing to voice out questions of this type, until someone manages to win by marking enough squares to make a straight line across his grid.

In a bingo review game, the teacher typically awards a prize of some sort to the winning student or team afterwards. Most teachers offer sweets and small toys, particularly to younger children. However, older students—such as those using the game in an adult ESL (English as a Second Language) class for reviewing foreign words—will likely play it without much thought as to tangible rewards upon winning.

Variations of the Game

There are of course other ways of using the game. Some variations introduce added levels of toughness, such as the one that requires players to do something more after they have already marked enough squares for a full line.

For example, a bingo review game might be about learning new words and how to use them. The instructor might require the players to construct a sentence using the words they have in the line before they can claim victory properly. This adds difficulty and thus further dimension to what is essentially quite a simple game.

Some versions of the bingo review game can actually take a while to play. Higher-level arithmetic review classes using it will often see students taking several minutes to figure out the answer to the caller’s question. This is because such games often see callers posing complex mathematical problems that need to be solved for the answer.

There are much simpler maths-based versions of the review game. Some only require the players to convert a fraction called out into a decimal figure—one found on the cards. Others could be as simple as identifying the answer to 1+1.

The game can also see variation in the way its paraphernalia is made. While most instructors prefer to create the cards themselves by running a bingo card generator (there are a lot of these usable for free on the Web) that randomly places “answer elements” they have preselected on bingo card grids, others prefer to let the students have a part in it.

For example, the instructor can preface his lesson by supplying students with empty sheets of paper that will serve as the bingo cards. The students will draw bingo grids on their papers, and then fill in the spaces with 20-25 numbers/words/pictures/possible answers for the review game. Once all of the cards have been made, the teacher begins the game by starting to call out questions. The requirement for randomness is satisfied as the students have no idea which questions the teacher will call in the first place.

Where Is the Bingo Review Game Used?

It is clear that the bingo review game can be adapted for quite a lot of courses and settings. It does tend to work best with vocabulary review and memory-oriented lessons, though. While we have already clarified that teachers can use it too in order to test their students’ skills at solving maths problems, the delays that may be incurred when working out multi-step equations do make it somewhat slower in most cases.

But as already noted, it is great for reviewing memorized data. Many geography teachers find it a great way to test their classes’ recollection of countries’ capitals, for example, with the capitals being the answers on the bingo card and the countries being the hints or questions. US teachers may use it to help students remember the abbreviated forms of the states. Chemistry teachers may use it to help students remember the periodic table. It can be used to help students recall important dates too, where the teacher calls out an event associated with the date and the students have to find the appropriate date and square to mark on their cards.

It serves as a fine tool too when memory-recall is combined with analytical thinking. Teachers can use it to quiz students on points of analyses in literature, for instance, or to cover matters of history.

None of this means that the tool is restricted to reviewing only these types of lessons. There is no reason some smart adaptation cannot render it adequate for reviewing others. This should show the value of the bingo review game for teachers as well as students of all levels.