Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Revision & 'Jenga'!

Today I went into school, with the majority of our Maths department, for our Y11's revision session. We had about a quarter of our Y11s there and they worked well throughout the morning session (we were there from 9am-12pm).

Last night when thinking about what I could do to engage the students in their revision I remembered the 'Jenga' style games I bought from the local charity shops last Summer. So, with a text book and a black pen in hand I started about writing questions on each of the wooden blocks. Blimey...did this take some doing!! I had good intentions on setting up 2 of these for various groups of students (foundation and higher) to be playing/using for their revision at the same time. However, it took me about 2 and a half hours to do 1 tower of bricks!

Still, I had one of these now set up that I could use forever more with my higher tier students! Here's how the individual bricks looked...



I had to play around with the pens to find one that was thin enough to write clearly on them, but wouldn't rub off the bricks. In the end a 'gel pen' was the best...just so you know!

I wrote 4 questions on each brick, of which there are 60 in a single game's tower, I'm sure I don't need to tell you the number of questions I therefore had to write out...hence, why it took me so long!

The tower looks superb once stacked up and all the questions are visible on the edges/top...


What I like about this is that students can see some of the questions as they decide on which brick to remove (carefully). They then, on successfully removing the brick, are presented with the other questions to attempt too. The group of students that gave the game a whirl (after initial hesitation from students and an over enthusiastic effort from staff) decided to answer their questions on mini whiteboards as they played the game. I sat with them whilst they were playing to see if any help was needed or any questions had to be clarified etc. I was really impressed by the way they approached the game as I was expecting them to be more concerned with playing the game than answering the questions. I even had thoughts of a few just knocking the tower down for the sake of it. None of these things happened!

As the game progresses, and bricks get replaced on the top of the tower, more gaps become apparent and more questions therefore visible - improving the choice of the individual when selecting which brick to remove.


One of the suggestions a colleague had was that they had seen a version of the 'Jenga' game whereby the bricks were coloured and coloured dice were rolled to determine what colour brick had to be removed that go. This could easily be done by colouring in the 2 end faces of each cuboidal brick (there wasn't enough space to write questions here). The game would then become even more challenging and questions on various coloured bricks could be differentiated accordingly (green = A/A*, orange = B, red = D/C etc)

The group that tried the game out seemed to get a lot from it in terms of enjoyment and revision, they were asking me questions at appropriate times to check they knew what they had to do and were checking each other's answers before the next person's go.

I'll be getting this out in the upcoming revision sessions when we go back next week as it seems to have gone down well and did everything I hoped it would and more.

Let me know if you've used anything like this before...@mrprcollins




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