During our very short pre-planning at the beginning of August, two of our fellow teachers at my school showed us a wonderful review game called KABOOM.  If you have not heard of KABOOM, add it to your toolbox of engaging learning activities and structures!

Kaboom works great as a station OR as an activity with multiple groups (I like no more than 3) for an entire class.  Here is what you do:

  1.  Purchase a big pack or multiple packs of Popsicle sticks.  I like the larger size because it’s easier to write on them; monitor the price because they normally are not expensive, but they seem to be in demand for the moment, so the price has risen.  Number your sticks 1-20; I usually include 2 Kaboom sticks, but I would not have more than 3 Kaboom sticks.  I also use a fine tip Sharpie to write my numbers.  Place them in baggies so you can track your sets.
  2.  Come up with your questions and answers for the content you want them to review; this should be a single handout that you can print front/back or 2 pages to one side.  I highlight or italicize the answers to make it easier for students.  So far I have used our course syllabus, growth mindset notes, and three episodes of Part 1 of The Odyssey as review topics.  Decide if you want to the Kaboom game to be a station or for small groups (I recommend no more than 3 people per group) fro the whole class.
  3. Purchase some fun colored cups like Hefty Party Cups.
  4.  Review the rules of the game and enjoy the fun!  Warning:  it WILL get loud, especially if the entire class is playing in small groups.   You may need to coach students on soft voices or move away from the class if using Kaboom as a station.

Once you have you Kaboom sets of sticks and cups created and organized, you are ready to go and can reuse them quickly for any Kaboom topic you might want to play.

To play, one player will draw a stick from the cup.  The player looks at the number on the Popsicle stick and another partner reads the question.  You can decide if you want to allow students to use notes or their texts/resources to answer the questions.  The partner reading the question will verify if the other partner answered correctly.  If the partner answers correctly, he/she keeps the stick; if the person misses the question, it goes back in the cup.  Partners or trios take turn and repeat this process.

If a player draws a KABOOM stick, he/she must put all of his/her sticks back into the cup!  The player with the most sticks at the end wins!

The beauty of KABOOM is that you can use it with any age group and any topic. For my librarian friends, this would be a wonderful vehicle to make a library orientation more fun; it would also work for any information literacy skill you might be teaching, such as a lesson on authoritative sources.

KABOOM has been WILDLY popular with my 8th graders in Language Arts, and I’m excited to continue incorporating it into our learning experiences this semester!