Turn your notes into a game with the Notes Race! This is a super fun way for students to fill in a set of skeleton notes or to label a complex diagram. The method is simple, and includes movement, teamwork, and competition!
It is simple to turn your notes into a game:
Students are each given a blank diagram/notes sheet and put into teams of 3-5. At the front of the room, facing down, place a copy of the notes completely filled in. One copy per group, spread out with a few feet between each copy.
One student for each group comes to the front and stands beside a copy. At the word ‘GO’ the student grabs the completed notes sheet and has 30 seconds to look at it. When time is up, they race back to their group and try to recall as much of the notes as they can from memory. They attempt to fill in their own notes sheet and tell their group members what they remember. I usually allow about 30 seconds for groups to talk, before we start the next round.
Each group sends up a new person. When everyone is ready, the timer starts again with another 30 seconds to look at the notes sheet, trying to memorize a new part to share with their group.
The goal of the Notes Race:
The goal is to be the first group with a completed sheet. Consider rewarding with a piece of candy or some other incentive! I usually allow the game to continue until at least two or three groups have finished. Once the game is over, groups can be given a copy of the completed notes to be sure things are in the right place and spelled correctly.
My favorite way to use the Notes Race is with diagrams – like the cell cycle, cell organelles, body systems, the Carbon and Nitrogen cycles, etc. These diagrams are full of unfamiliar vocabulary. The Note Race forces students to really concentrate in order to remember. Focusing on the diagram, recalling where words are placed, and having to teach (quickly) their group, helps students to better remember what is going on in the diagram. Plus – it is a lot more fun than a lecture!
After the game:
Once the notes or diagram is filled in, it may be helpful to spend a few minutes explaining or reading through what they have copied down. This is especially true for the auditory learners in the room.
Finally, give students a chance to use their new knowledge with an open-note assignment – like a Google Form with questions!
Looking for more ways to make your notes into a game? Check out the rest of the post from Teach Science of Curiosity, our sister-site! There you will find ten other ways to turn direct instruction into an interactive lesson!