Most teens like games, and as a motivation tool to study science, or any other subject, they can't be beat. Games can be serious or just plain fun. Consider building a game playing study group by inviting your child’s friends or family to join in. Teams of two to four individuals can attack, say, five science practice questions in ten minutes taken from your teen’s textbook, or the pre-test review questions that most teachers distribute before an upcoming test. Here are six fresh ideas to liven up your teen's study time, and involve the whole family at the same time!
What You Need:
- Science textbook or other study material
- Paper & pencil
- Small ball or other round object
What You Do:
- Tell all the players to study some science related material. Next, have everyone stand up and form a circle, facing in, looking at each other. Toss a ball or some other round object to one player and have him or her tell what they thought was the most important concept they just learned. That person then tosses the ball to someone and that person explains what they though was the most important concept. Continue the exercise until everyone has caught the ball at least once and explained an important concept.
- Have a group of participating family members each write three statements related to the subject being studied on a piece of paper. Two statements should be true, and one false in some way. The group then discusses and votes on which statement is false. Make sure those who voted incorrectly understand their mistakes.
- Have each person write 3-5 possible test questions (use the textbook, class notes, or handouts, etc.) on index cards. Then divide the participants into teams and have them take turns quizzing the other team. Keep a personal top score and team score if desired.
- Advertisements that flash on a television screen generally last for no longer than 3 seconds. Have your teen (or group) look at a photograph, illustration, or science chart from their text for about the same amount of time and then ask “What is this illustration all about?” Have them explain their reasoning and answer to you or their teammates.
- Most teenagers love their electronic devices. Turn a distraction into anytime/anywhere study by having your teen export or download study materials (lessons, test review material, even homework questions) to their cell phone, PDA, or iPod. They can study and play with data online as flashcards, hangman game, crossword puzzle, matching, word search, or word scramble: just be prepared for the phone bill!
- Suggest to your teen that she create her own study game. Take time to think about what makes a good game. Is it competitive? Fast-paced? A board game, card game, or something else? Make available a variety of game boards for your teen to examine, emphasizing that design and rules should actually be a helpful aid to study, in addition to being fun.
Mike is a 20-year veteran science teacher, and runs an online business (www.scienceinabag.com). Over the years Mike has studied trends in science, education, and finance, conducting research, developing programs, and writing articles on these topics.