Science can be a difficult subject for students to master, and it gets more complicated as they progress. Using games to teach science, however, can help students learn science in several ways.
- Practice – Using games to teach science helps students practice essential formulas, facts and processes. Students not only learn the basics, but games also give them the opportunity to apply what they have learned. This type of practice also helps students better apply the information in a testing situation.
- Motivation – Few children dress as scientists for career day, mainly because few students find science to be truly interesting. A lack of interest leads to a lack of motivation when it comes to studying. Using games to teach science makes the subject more interesting, and can even make science class a fun class. For younger students, games can create a sense of competitiveness, motivating students toward performing well during competition.
- Anxiety – Because science can be difficult to understand, students often feel anxiety about performing in any way in science class. Using games to teach science can help relieve the anxiety that students often feel when it comes to answering questions in class or taking tests.
- Understanding – Using games to teach science can help increase a student’s understanding of the various concepts covered in the class. In addition, games can help teachers spot areas that may be a problem for students, or identify students who are experiencing difficulty grasping all of the material.
The following are some games that can be used to teach science:
- Jeopardy! – Students can be divided into groups to play Jeopardy!, with questions and answers focused on the material currently being covered in the classroom. If it is not possible to create a game board, teachers can simply draw squares on the board and fill in category and money amounts. Teams can even wager points for double Jeopardy! or final Jeopardy! rounds. Of course, teachers always have the option of conducting the game with individual players in order to determine the class champion.
- Science BINGO – Played like regular BINGO, science BINGO requires students to find terms on their cards that correspond with the definitions read by the teacher. For younger students, pictures may be placed in the squares on the BINGO cards.
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – This game may be played with individual students or with teams. As with the television game show, students are given a question and four possible answers. For individual students, they have three “lifelines,” in which they can ask a classmate, eliminate two wrong answers, and/or poll the class. For teams, they can work together to come up with the correct answers. In addition, team play allows for points to be given to the team that answers first.
Games can be an excellent method of teaching science. Students can get interested in a subject they enjoy, and games help create that enjoyment. With a little imagination, teachers can easily adapt games the science classroom and create a learning environment that is fun and interesting.