Bingo Across the Curriculum
- B.A., Sociology, University of California Los Angeles
Bingo is a wonderful teaching tool to have at your fingertips no matter what you are teaching. You can even make it up as you go along! The basic premise of Bingo is simple: players start with a grid filled with answers and they cover up spaces as the corresponding item is called from the Bingo “caller.” Winners make a complete line going vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Or, you can play “Black Out” which means the winner is the first person who covers all of the spots on the card.
There are a few ways you can prepare for playing Bingo in your classroom.
- Buy a Bingo set from a teacher supply store. Of course, this is the easiest way, but we teachers don’t make too much money so this option may not make too much sense.
- A cheaper option requires you to prepare all of the Bingo boards ahead of time, making sure that all of the boards are configured differently from each other.
- For older students, you can hand over some of the preparation to them. Prepare one Bingo board with all of the options filled in. Also, keep a copy of a blank board. Make copies of each page, one per student. Give the children time to cut apart the pieces and paste them wherever they want on the blank boards.
- The most teacher-friendly way to do Bingo is to give each child a blank piece of paper and have them fold it into sixteenths. Then they get to write the terms into their bingo sheet from your list (on the chalkboard or overhead) and voila! Everyone has their own unique Bingo board!
You can play Bingo with virtually any subject. Here is a rundown of some of the different ways you can play Bingo in your classroom:
Phonemic Awareness: Kindergarten teachers can use this type of Bingo to help students learn the sounds that correspond to the letters of the alphabet. On the Bingo chart, place single letters in each of the boxes. Then, you call out the letter sounds and the students put a marker on the letter that makes each sound. Or, say a short word and ask the kids to identify the beginning sound.
Vocabulary: In the Bingo chart boxes, put the vocabulary words your class is currently studying. You will read out the definitions and the kids have to match them up. Example: You say “to find and bring back” and the students cover up “retrieve.”
Parts of Speech: Get creative with using Bingo to help kids remember the parts of speech. For instance, read a sentence and ask the kids to place a marker on the verb in that sentence. Or, ask the kids to look for a verb that begins with a “g.” Make sure there are all different types of words that begin with that letter so that they really have to think about it.
Subtraction, Addition, Multiplication, Division: Write the answers to applicable problems in the Bingo boxes. You call out the problem. This is a great way to reinforce the math facts that kids must memorize. For example, you say, “6 X 5” and the students cover “30” on their game sheets.
Fractions: In the Bingo boxes, draw various shapes cut into portions with some of the parts shaded. Example: draw a circle cut into fourths and shade one of the fourths. When you read out the words “one fourth,” the students will have to determine which shape represents that fraction.
Decimals: Write the decimals in the boxes and call out the words. For example, you say, “forty three hundredths” and the kids cover the square with “.43.”
Rounding: For example, you say, “Round 143 to the nearest 10.” The students put a marker on “140.” You may want to write the numbers on the board instead of just saying them.
Place Value: For example, you say, “place a marker on a number that has six in the hundreds spot.” Or, you can put a large number on the board and ask the students to place a marker on the digit that is in the thousands place, etc.
Science, Social Studies, and more!
Vocabulary: Similar to the vocabulary game described above, you say the definition of a word from your unit of study. The children place a marker on the corresponding word. Example: You say, “the planet closest to our sun” and the students mark “Mercury.”
Facts: You say something like, “the number of planets in our solar system” and the children place a marker on “9”. Continue with other number-based facts.
Famous People: Focus on famous people associated with your unit of study. For instance, you say, “This person wrote the Emanicaption Proclamation” and the students put a marker on “Abraham Lincoln”.
Bingo is a wonderful game to keep in mind when you have a few extra minutes to fill in the day. Get creative and have fun with it. Your students surely will!
These teaching strategies incorporate Bingo games, which can work across the curriculum to assist your students in learning a wide variety of skills.
Playing Bingo in English Lessons – Preparations
suitable for students from the age of 10
- Time: about 10 minutes per round
- Topic: The students repeat the numbers from 1-100 and the alphabet.
- Assessment: none (could be performed in a contest)
- 1 master grid for the game master (teacher or student)
- 1 grid for each student or group of students)
- 100 numbered cards with the numbers 1 through 100 on them. You can easily make them out of cardboard or use crowncaps or corks instead. You may also let your students make them.
Preparing the game
1. The students draw the grid.
2. The students write the word BINGO above the grid and colour the square in the middle.
3. The students write their choice of numbers into the grid.
- first column (here letter B: choose numbers from 1-20)
- second column (here letter I: 21-40)
- third column (here letter N: 41-60)
- fourth column (here letter G: 61-80)
- fifth column (here letter O: 81-100)
The students can mix the numbers in the columns. You can see an example on the right.
Grid for quizmaster
This master grid is for checking the game. The grid should be large enough to make the numbered cards fit into the squares. You can download our sample master grid. (It’s free.)
How to prepare a Bingo Game in English Lessons