I resist most cultural phenomena on principle, but when a sixteen year old boy talks to you about how amazing a book series is, you have to take notice. I only recently embraced “The Hunger Games” (as in I read the first book last week). Coincidentally, I came across a review game activity based on “The Hunger Games” in my Edmodo World Languages community last week. With a little tweaking, I knew it could be a major hit in the classroom.
- Arrange 12 desks in a circle/semi-circle. If you have more than 12 students, place extra desks in tight clusters so that there are 12 little clusters of desks in a circle.
- Prepare Questions: I planned on playing five rounds during the game with 12 questions per round. You could do random questions and pull them out of a hat too.
- Fill 12 cups with beans. I used jellybeans and put 5 jellybeans in each cup. Label the cups with numbers #1-12.
- Prepare the Cornucopia (see later)
- Separate the students into the 12 separate districts (12 separate groups). I always choose the grouping. If numbers allow me to do so, I put my advanced students alone and match up my lower ability students so they may work with each other.
- Give each district their cup of beans, stressing that they should not eat their beans. The objective of the game is to acquire the most beans anyway, so they shouldn’t want to eat their chances of winning.
- Begin with District 1 and ask the first review question. If the student answers incorrectly, just move on to the next District. If the student answers correctly, they may go and 1/2 of another District’s beans. Continue by asking the next District a question.
- After District 12 has answered their first question, the Capitol (the teacher) makes an announcement by drawing one of the Capitol cards.
I was preparing 5 rounds of the game and therefore I prepared 4 Capitol cards: one card to be read at the conclusion of Rounds 1, 2, 3 and 4. Here is what I used:
- Redistribution of Districts: The Capitol has decided to change the resources of each district as a reminder that the Capitol is in control. All cups rotate one District to the right.
- Quarter Quell: The time has come for districts to face each other in battle. During the next round, each District must challenge another District before the question is asked. Whichever of the two districts answers that question correctly gets to take 1/2 the losing District’s beans. In case of a tie, the win goes to the lowest numbered District.
- Cornucopia: All Districts are in need of something to make their success in this game easier. These items are in bags in the Cornucopia. At the signal of the Capitol, team members may go and retrieve one bag from the Cornucopia. Bags may not be opened until the Capitol permits. These items may be used for the entirety of the game unless otherwise noted.
- Silver Parachute: Sponsors have agreed to give aid to one struggling team. Give extra beans to the team with the lowest number of beans. In case of a tie, the tie goes to the highest numbered District.
I filled 12 bags with a variety of things for the bags in the Cornucopia. I had some bags filled with a few jellybeans, bags with vocabulary or notes and some filled with empty paper. I also had an “Auto-Win” card, where students could play it and automatically get a question correct. There was a “Blockade” card too, where a team could block others from taking their beans for an entire round.
After playing all five rounds of the game, the student with the most jellybeans was declared the victor. I gave out extra credit to the winner.
The Fallen Tributes
I wondered about how to deal with “killing” other districts or being eliminated from the game. In one class, we played that if a student was down to one bean, you couldn’t take that one bean. That kept players in the game. My second class was much more inspired by the notion of eliminating their competitors, forming alliances, etc. It made for a more interesting game. But, since it was a review game, eliminated players still had to answer questions, but they couldn’t take nor receive jellybeans. They couldn’t win but they were still forced to play.
I thought it went pretty well. It took awhile to count out half of the jellybeans when we got towards the end of the game but I can’t figure a way around that. It was a nice review activity and I would probably do it again in the future. It took some prep time but it was exciting and the students really enjoyed it.