‘Jeopardy’ games in classPopular board game helps students learn math and ‘it’s fun too,’ students say
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
You’re just as smart as an eighth-grader if you know the four quadrilateral figures contained in a baseball diamond are rhombus, square, parallelogram and rectangle.
Parents of the eighth-grade students in Amy Lucas’ geometry class probably didn’t take geometry until they were in 10th-grade, and they definitely didn’t play a math version of “Jeopardy.”
Five middle-school math teachers, with grant money from 3M, are using the format of the popular quiz show in their classes.
Teresa Willcom, Oltman Middle School teacher, writes the geometry games and Amy Lucas, Cottage Grove Middle School teacher, writes the algebra games.
“Teresa and I take turns writing the games and then share them with the other teachers,” Lucas said, in an interview on Nov. 27. “Our schools are working together to bring new technology to the classroom.”
Eighth-graders in her geometry class played “Jeopardy” last week to help prepare them for a test this week.
Lucas assigned captains for nine three-person teams and “clickers” were given to each student. If a team buzzed in, and Lucas called on them for an answer (which are questions when playing “Jeopardy”), the answer had to come from the captain after consulting the team.
Polygons, triangles, vocabulary, symmetry and formulas were among the categories to choose from.
Team Seven including Drew Molin, Lauren Van Gerpen, Mikalya Jones and Allie Minogue, clicked away in the early part of the game, but didn’t get a chance to respond.
Minogue was convinced there was something wrong with her clicker even after Lucas said she checked all the batteries before class.
Minogue also suggested to the other teams that if they didn’t buzz in, her team would get a chance to play.
After a question, which Lucas cautioned was difficult, was answered by Gabe Daum’s team, the other students wanted to know how they got the answer.
“Lucy,” Daum said, referring to Lucy Yang, his team member.
Students nodded in understanding.
“Everyone knows she’s a genius,” Molin said.
When it came time for “Final Jeopardy,” no one was surprised that Daum’s team had the most fictional money, and only two other teams had positive balances to wager. Team Seven, which got three chances, but didn’t answer correctly, didn’t qualify.
It was also no surprise that Daum’s team had the only correct answer and Lucas gave them suckers for their effort.
Lucas said, based on the students’ performance, that the class was not ready for Monday’s test. She set Monday for review and moved the test to Tuesday.
Lucas said Jeopardy is a great way to do test review. It also helps students learn the structure of questions so they can quickly understand what is being asked during tests.
It’s also a way for students to cooperate and learn how to be part of a team, she said.