On Thursday, we started class by playing Human Bingo. We are currently working on the concept of percent of a number and have worked with a variety of "real life" activities involving this idea. These ranged from "going shopping" where students went to Best Buy, Toys r Us, or Target online and "made" some purchases and then calculated a discount to a tax and tip activity where students took three people "out to dinner." I wanted the kids to do some flat out number crunching with percents and so decided that Human Bingo would be a good activity to get us doing just that. The students were moving about, doing the activity and I snapped a quick photo of one of their sheets with my iPad and made this post on Twitter
where I received a message back from Lisa Henry (@lmhenry9) who asked me about it after looking at the attached picture.
Thus this post was born. So for Lisa and anyone else looking for a nice review activity that gets kids up and moving and talking here is Human Bingo (borrowed quite liberally from Rick Wormelli.)
The whole idea of Human Bingo revolves around getting kids up and talking. You start by giving each student a five by five bingo board. The nice part about the bingo boards is that they do not need to be different. Here are a couple examples
Percent of a Number
Multiplying and dividing fractions
You should put a free space in the middle (everyone loves a free space!) and then place problems that you want to review around it. I also like to put a couple silly things in (such as know the name of a person who signed the Declaration of Independence or has a dog at home) because I teach middle school and middle schoolers are pretty silly. Once students have their bingo boards, they need to get up and get people to sign the squares. Students can get whichever student they want to sign a spot but as you will see later, there is a rhyme and reason to the signing. I do put a limit to students signing in that they may only sign twice on any one board (including their own.) Since I'm in the classroom as are other adults (aides, special educator, etc) those people can sign too. Once I feel that students have moved around enough and got plenty of signatures (and some have their whole board signed) I stop kids and have them go back to their seats. This is where the bingo really begins. I fire up the Smart Board and connect my iPad to it with the Decide Now app on it.
I spin the spinner and if a student's name comes up anyone who had that student sign their board can cover ONE (and only one) of the spots they signed. I like to use Smarties candies as markers for this as the kids get to eat them after (yes I know I let them eat candy but its not THAT much). We continue the spinning and marking (and the class progressively gets louder as kids start calling out names they need and cheering or groaning as names come up.) Finally, someone gets a "bingo." When that happens I have that students call out the name and problem of each part of their bingo. As they do so, I call on the student who signed the board to correctly answer the problem, if they do so we continue on to see if a bingo was really made. If they miss the problem, no bingo is made and we continue to play. Lots of pressure on the kids to perform for one another but a lot of fun too.
As you can see from the above, there is certainly some strategy as students are moving around getting signatures. Its probably helpful to ask me to sign a specific problem if there is a real tough one for instance. I have a number of students who don't just take kids' word that they can solve problems but actually make them do it out (and along that line of thought, I have kids who "prove" to others they can do the problems by doing them out and bringing that paper around with them as they sign.)
I like this activity for a variety of reasons. One as I might have mentioned a few times above :) it gets kids up and moving. Two its differentiated, if kids struggle with problems they can work on and sign ones that they can do and if kids really know what they are doing, they can opt to doing more difficult problems. Of course, there is also the part that it actually makes kids practice the skill because its not just their own selves who will be hurt by them not being able to do something but rather their classmates. I continue to be amazed at how bad kids feel if they "let someone down." It also amazes me that kids will try their hardest and not "throw" a question even though it isn't them that will end up winning.
I highly recommend this activity and would love to hear how other people put their spin on it. Obviously there are a multitude of ways to change it. The problems themselves, the number of times kids can sign, the way you pull names (popsicle sticks for instance) can all be changed. If anyone uses this and makes their own boards, please share, I'd love to see them!