education · Games · math

Door Busters – A Review Game

I try to throw in a review games when I can – it keeps the students engaged and makes the work seems less like, well, work.  This is one of my favorites.  When we play it, every student is motivated to answer the questions.  And the end of the game is fun for everyone (even me!).  A colleague shared this game with me during my first year of teaching.  His name for it was “Unfair” but I thought “Door Busters” sounded a little more fun.

The game is so easy to play.  All you need is some form of a random name generator.  I go old school and use Popsicle sticks.  You will also need three prizes – more on that later.  This game can be played with a prepared set of questions, or you can throw it together last minute when you realize the lesson you thought would take the whole class only took 30 minutes.

Here’s how it works:  write/display a problem on the board.  Have students work on the problem at their desks.  I often use whiteboards because it makes it easier to see when students are done with the problem and I can easily see who needs help getting the correct answer (even though it’s a game, I try to make sure all students have the correct answer).  When all students have completed the problem, I randomly select a name.  If the student whose name I called has the correct answer, they get to pick a “door”.  To keep track of the doors, you can do something as simple as write 1, 2, 3 on the board, or you can get fancy and make construction paper “doors” and hang them on the board.  Either way, when a student picks a door, they write their name below it on the board.

The process repeats.  New question, new random name.  But the next student has the option of stealing the first player’s door or choosing an empty door.  If the student chooses to steal a door, they erase the other student’s name and write their own.  The process repeats until the game is over/you run out of time.  At the end of the game, the student whose name is left under each door wins whatever prize is behind that door.  Here’s where it gets fun.  The prizes can be whatever you want – candy, a homework pass, bonus points.  But the true magic comes by including a “dud” prize.  I have included things like a high-five from me, a fake million dollar bill, or a sticker.  Once the students realize that not all the prizes are true “prizes”, the game goes to a whole new level.

A quick note about stealing doors.  When I used this in 7th grade, I was weary of allowing students to steal each other’s doors because I didn’t want any hurt feeling or for anyone to feel singled out.  So I had students roll a dice instead (rolling a 1 or 4 meant Door 1, rolling a 2 or 5 meant Door 2, rolling a 3 or 6 mean Door 3).  I haven’t had this issue when I play it with my high school students, but I always feel out the class to determine what the best approach is.

Here’s a picture of the flipchart I use to reveal the prizes.  If it’s an impromptu game, I’ll just write the prizes on a post-it note before the game starts.

DBDB prizes

If you have any review games that work really well and are easy to use, please tell me about them!

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4 thoughts on “Door Busters – A Review Game

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