Welcome to #GridGames! Now what does that mean? Well, I’m glad you hypothetically asked. For years I have long been using games (game-based learning and gamification) to make learning deeply engaging for students and more recently doing the same for professional development for teachers. And in the midst of an unprecedented time of remote and hybrid learning, it is all the more necessary to drive people who have every opportunity to disengage. Now for those who have yet to be initiated Flipgrid, a video discussion platform, has always been great at empowering student voices. And the new filters, tools, and video editing features give it some of the same features that make social media platforms engaging. So to put it even more simply, #GridGames is using Flipgrid to play games with your students that allow for meaningful conversations.
Some of these games are adapted from ones you’ll be familiar with and others are newer creations. Some were the brainchild of other educators that I will introduce you to. Some of the games can happen entirely within the Flipgrid ecosystem and others require additional tools. For the sake of brevity, I’m not going into depth into how the platforms work or all the different ways you can adapt each game. Knowing the creativity of educators though. I’m sure you’ll be able to take this and run with it. I am linking you to an actual copied grid for most of these so you can view them how a student would, but all of them can be easily imported simply by searching by their name or for GridGames in the Flipgrid Discovery Library. So here they are.
There are multiple ways to play a version of video Tic-Tac-Toe. You can have 9 frozen videos with questions or prompts that students are responding to take the square. Alternatively you can use a separate tool (i.e. PowerPoint/Google Slides) with both the physical Tic Tac Toe Board and linked videos inside it. Then student responses for each square will be recorded in the Flipgrid. You decide whether you determine who is correct (takes longer) or if you allow the student pairs or student teams to play independently to determine the winner. Or even better, have students create prompts/questions for each other. If they are correct they get the square. If not they can either lose their turn or the opponent gets the square. As a rule though, no one can win with an incorrect response.
While this can easily be used for arithmetic practice, current event, or any other subject matter, I will share a specific science example I created a Periodic Table Tic tac-Toe. Here is the Discovery Grid that includes my example slides as well as some generic ones. The PowerPoint version is automated.
This is just the shinier tv style version of celebrity tic-tac-toe. The major difference is that instead of giving an answer, you are either agreeing or disagreeing with the answer that is already in the video. This means you can introduce students to complex topics without them feeling completely loss since ultimately the only decision they will have to make is essentially a true or false one. That’s why this may be better for the introduction of topics while regular tic-tac-toe can be used for review. This can again be done for multiple subject areas. The example I am sharing is more for teachers and it is Quarantine Edition Trivia.
We all know the rules of charades, right? A player from Team A selects a book they have read this year. You can use our book lists to help. After he/she has had a short time to review the slip, they begin recording their actions to help others guess. You get 1 minute. Team A teammates respond to that video to guess. Team B does the same. Remember that you may not make any oral utterances or animal sounds. Obviously this can be used for vocabulary word, animals, historical figures, or geographic locations. The example I am sharing is Charades Novel Edition where you can have people guess your favorite book.
There are all different versions of educational Bingo games you can create of find already created online using sites like BingoBaker or Bingo Card Template. In this version of Spanish Bingo students are practicing their language skills recording themselves saying the phrases that helped them get Bingo.
If you’re not familiar with these, these are puzzles that combine illustrations and letters to depict well known words or phrases. Some of them can be deceptively simple where we struggle to get it, but upon hearing the correct answer we can’t believe we didn’t get it right away. For example, the one to the left would be top secret since the uppermost word secret is circled. Again this could be book titles, characters, or any other type of phrase where you create them or have students create them. I usually give students slides with several rebus puzzles on a topic and the have them import the images on the Flipgrid whiteboard as they describe them in their recording. I am sharing a fun EdTech Rebus Puzzles i used when reviewing some learning tools with teachers.
This is kind of a subset of rebus puzzles that tell a story or phrase with emojis that students need to guess. It’s fun for either literacy or history review, especially where quotes are involved. For example, students could guess 🌍 🇺🇸 🏴 🇷🇺 ⚔️ 🇯🇵 🇩🇪 ✌🏻 refers to WWII or that 🐝 🔀. 🙏🏽. 👀 🌏 reflects the famous Gandhi quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I am sharing an example of Emoji Film Quotes where the slides ask students to record their reenactment of the quote and name the movie. Eric Curts has resources for a variety of other emoji-related activities and stories you can view.
Which One Doesn’t Belong?
I love using WODB activities for warm exercises. That’s because it’s not about a right answer so much as it is about understanding students expressing their thought processes. Students see an image with 4 options and they record their response about which one doesn’t belong and why. As long as they can explain it, it works. After that you can even have students now choose a different one and explain why it doesn’t work. It gets them to see how there can be multiple solutions to a problem.
I use it heavily for math with shapes, equations, or graphs that have differences. It could be used for science of language arts also though. Does a particular animal not belong because it’s in a different class or because it flies or because of color? What terms go together? What countries are similar? And if you don’t think it can be complex, throw in some graphed equations and see how other teachers do. Here is a simple Geometry WODB Example There are already many pre-made sets for math.
Estimation is a key early math skill. It lets early students have a better comprehension of numeracy and it lets advanced students know if their answer to a complex question may be way off target. Esti-mysteries are the brainchild of Steve Wyborney who shares those and a number of other great math resources on his blog. The idea of esti-mysteries is that students start with a container filled with objects and they are to estimate the number. Then clues are given to help students narrow their estimation or note how far off their original one was. You can decide whether the clues are given live, in slides or in responses to students original videos. Whenever students want to adjust their estimation based on clues they can do it as a response to the original video.
I am sharing an example of an easier estimation with less than 20 items. You can also make it a 3 act exercise where students estimate initially with a small container and then they can use that knowledge to inform their estimates of larger ones. Here is a chili pepper example done by some students in my district with the help of my co-worker Greg Heath. Obviously this can be broken into pieces without the immediate answers. It can be 3 different Flipgrid topics or students can respond in one topic with all 3 estimates. You can also se where Steve shares 51 example esti-mysteries you can work with also for grades K-12. There are a few other examples in the Flipgrid Discovery Library as well
This is like a Where’s Waldo puzzle where you can have students search for any information or person. It doesn’t need to be Waldo. Here is a page where you can find me and here is the Where’s Mr. Arnold #GridGame. Originally this was to find all sorts of people and info across my district, but most of it would have little context for you, so you can just find me. You can have students find a ll kinds of objects that lead to further research. Students can describe where they find items, but I find it better if they use the whiteboard and import the search as a sticker image. Then they can circle what they find as they record. The other option is a screen recording where students point to items withe their mouse as they find it.
It can be used for a variety of topics. For example, you could have students search for certain animals or equations based on descriptions. You can have them find examples of vocabulary terms or story characters. It can be as simple or complex as you need. Here is an incredibly complex Bitmoji search, with translations and embedded links, made for 24Q here in NYC by a friend of mine, Kerry McGarvey. There’s another example where Dana Stark uses it to build student descriptive language skills.
This one is pretty straight forward where people try to guess a drawing using the whiteboard (or any other background in Flipgrid). The drawings can not be pre-drawn and must be recorded and drawn live. Obviously these can be drawings of anything from any topic area. You can adjust the time limit, but I usually keep to 30 seconds or less if it’s just one word. The SAT Vocabulary Pictionary I’m sharing asks students to choose a word randomly from their vocabulary list and draw it. This helps build their understanding of the word as well as well as those of other students as they guess it by responding. The first person to get them all wins. It takes what could otherwise be tedious exercise and makes it fun.
If you’re not familiar, guess who is where you are trying to guess a particular person by asking questions to eliminate possibilities. This can also be done in reverse where the person gives clues until people are able to guess the person. The winner is the one who takes the fewest clues/questions. The teacher can present a historical figure, character, a vocabulary term, animal, element, or otherwise that students need to guess. Then they can relay clues. The teacher can start off with 2 clues or more than 5. It all depends on whether you want to have only 1 video prompt or you want to regularly respond with more clues when students guess incorrectly. My preferred method though is for each student to select the mystery person/item and record that prompt. Then each student replies to each other to guess.
The Guess Who? Historical Edition example I am sharing demonstrates how to make a video with clues about a historical figure as well as slides to help students create their own boards. To save time I’ve often created a list of pre-selected figures or I base it on the ones we’ve viewed in BrainPOP videos. With 90+ people it gives a lot to choose from.
Who Would Win
There are several variations of this game that include a book series about animal battles, a card game about pop culture figures, or a book about historical figures. In each one the premise is to stage a hypothetical battle and argue who would win and why. Then others can vote on who they agree with. You can have students argue the strength of their character/animal while another argues why theirs would beat it. The alternative is you can have a student argue both sides of the battle and decide on a victor. Then the other students can like the student’s response they agree with most. The example I’m sharing of History’s Who Would Win uses that latter method and is based on the historical pairings from the book mentioned above. This is more about building debate prowess than anything and I have played it with students to help with debate prep. Yes, it requires knowledge of the material but it is more about making a convincing argument. I’ve been shocked sometimes with the strange but compelling reasons students have come up with for a victory.
This one is pretty self explanatory students simply answer trivia questions across the six categories your create. The standard categories for the game are Blue – Geography, Pink – Entertainment, Yellow – History, Purple – Arts and Literature, Green – Science and Nature, and Orange – Sports and Leisure. Of course you can change those to suit your needs so they may pertain to different areas of math of geography. For example I am sharing my Trivial Pursuit: America Edition that covers different aspects of Amverican History.
Am I only who remembers and loves the movie clue? Yes, we could call this any kind of mystery game, but my affinity for Clue has me calling it that. In another variation this can work very much like Guess Who where you list any the person’s title, their location, and their action (weapon) and try to have others guess it. That can apply to historical figures, animals, or any other bit of vocabulary. I am sharing the Clue: Ecosystem Edition I did that has animals as suspects and other creatures as victims. In an effort to complete the food chain and find the “killer” students must match the animals to their weapons, locations, and victims (diet). They record their accusations saying how many clues it took them to determine all the matchups. For more advanced students I have them use screen recording and drawing to map out the food chain connecting the animals.
Musical Note Twister was probably the first real game I created to play with my students. In an effort to have them remember their notes (I started as a music teacher), I thought we could use physical movement to help. I soon learned none of the students knew right from left so I got socks and mittens with Rs and Ls for kids to wear to help. Amazingly it was working. This was when I realized play could be aa powerful learning tool. For the #GridGame students simply record themselves in groups (or solo at home) going through the moves and calling out the notes (or rests or vocabulary, or atomic elements, etc.) as they go.
There are a number of other games I’ve played with students that I’m just cleaning up a bit before I share them here. They include Scattergories, Apples to Apples, Cranium, CodeNames, CandyLand, Monopoly, Life, 25 Words or Less, Balderdash, Taboo, the Extraodinaires, and several Buncee Board Games
We’re all familiar with the reverse trivia show and the awesomeness of Alex Trebec. There are multiple ways to engage in this with Flipgrid. The first and simplest can be done by having students post descriptions of characters, terms, vocabulary definitions, or any other description and others respond with guesses in the form of a question. For example, the clue could state “the study of living organisms” and the answer would be “what is biology”. The next way is to use a Jeopardy template and embed Flipgrid videos as video clues that students can respond to. The third and most complex way is to use one of the templates or live games and have students post their responses to selected categories in the Flipgrid. They would record a video for each category where they respond with all five correct questions. Then you can have a separate topic for Final Jeopardy. That final method is what I have done for Jeopardy: Ecosystem Edition that I am sharing which contains clues across 6 categories related to an ecosystem unit. Remember in Jeopardy students lose points for wrong answers, and I usually set a time limit.
Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?
The sequential trivia show that covers a broad range of knowledge to see who can be the big winner. In Flipgrid, I have played this 2 ways where students answer as high of a dollar amount as they are comfortable answering correctly or I have them choose a random dollar amount using a random selector and answer that one. This is more of a spot check for understanding. Of course, you could have a student answer all areas, but I find the number of questions can become overwhelming. I am sharing a Verb Tense Millionaire game where students are asked to respond in that fashion.
The Price Is Right
The high stakes financial knowledge game is one I have used this exclusively for math practice with money. I have students estimate costs and do the math to make purchases. This is really meaningful since a lot of my students are working towards real world math skills and perhaps doing our school internships with local markets and other businesses. So that is the example I’m sharing in the Price Is Right Costs.
Sometimes the goal is to get kids moving and the competition is against our best rather than against others. But some of the games we made up about keep the ballon up or don’t touch the floor were the most fun we had as kids. This recreates some of that.
I loved Double Dare as a kid which was a mix of weird trivia and wacky physical challenges and they apparently brought it back to Nickelodeon a few years ago. One example in my STEM classes is I have had students answer questions about electricity and magnetism while engaging in fun experiments sticking (clean) socks and balloons to them. Here’s the Double Dare Electricity topic. We’ve also done challenges about germs while digging in a fake nose. The boogers were actually colored sanitizer so it interestingly made the kids hands cleaner. You can even have students finish with an awesome obstacle course Double Dare style. I was even able to get some of the occupational therapists on board to help the students practice their mobility and STEM simultaneously. If you’d like to check out some more professional looking challenges though, you can peek at Nickelodeon’s DIY Double Dare Challenges.
The Floor Is Lava
Apparently they made a game show out of my favorite childhood pastime. The game where you can’t touch the ground can be part of a physical challenge, but I think it is also a wonderful way to incorporate scientific learning. After having students review geology/volcano terminology we can label the school playground/gym (or their home for remote learning) like a volcano with the definitions. Obviously you would need to avoid vents and craters. Then students need to make it around the volcano avoiding danger zones while naming the terms. They can try to break their time record. Are you up for some Floor is Lava Science?
There are a number of other games I’ve played with students that I’m just cleaning up a bit before I share them here. They include Deal or No Deal, Wheel of Fortune, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Family Feud, and Press Your Luck.
Some games are the kind of challenges we create for ourselves and some are for teams. Some don’t exactly have a score but the game and the goal is simply the challenge itself.
I love hands-on design challenges with students. And it is still possible even during remote learning. In my district this past summer I put together a 6 week series of differentiated design challenges for students where they could Reimagine their World (these slides are intended to be teacher facing as it contains more information than students require. Students submitted their work in our Flipgrid Group that contained the six challenges. This gave students to dive deep into meaningful ways to impact their society through STEM while also engaging in physical activities While students were engaged in rDesign challenges are common in schools to engage students in project-based learning.
Follow the slides to determine your challenge and record your efforts and thoughts around it.
For those who haven’t yet experienced the wonder of a TikTok Challenge, this is a challenge activity/game that is often physical that people attempt to recreate. It’s just that here students are doing it through Flipgrid. Keep in mind not all TikTok challenges are appropriate for school (and some are downright terrible), but creating your own educational versions shouldn’t be a problem. They can be physical education challenges that include dance or something or the plank challenge pictured here. The example I am sharing though is filled with students creating Global History Memes which can be adapted to any social studies unit. You could easily do biology or other science memes too. This could also be a design challenge f you’re really ambitious you can even make it look like TikTok with the GridMask created by Joe Marquez.
This can be done by simply prompting students to respond about a learning game you are already having them play. That can be science games, social studies games, or anything else. One of the great ways to do that is to tap into some of the Flipgrid partnerships like their collections from Minecraft. That’s a great game for it because you can have students screen record their creations while giving it narration to help you check their understanding. Here is the Minecraft Public Space Challenge I helped coordinate here in New York City. Over !500 students created examples where they designed a public space for their community. This is an example from an 8th grade student that was well done.
I love escape rooms with students and I have spoken about them many times. They provide opportunities for students to collaborate, communicate, think critically, and be creative (along with all the 7 Cs of 21st century learning). It is fun way for students to see if they genuinely have mastery of a concept enough to think their way around it. But there are a few ways to do it using Flipgrid.
Embedded Escape Rooms
This is perhaps the simplest way to use Flipgrid and provides for the most variation. You can simply link your digital breakout room you created elsewhere for students to respond to either with answers or on their thought process on solving (or failing to solve) the puzzles. This can be done with through the many Breakout Edu topics available on Flipgrid or their site, using OneNote, or a Google Form. Here is an example I created for teachers that uses a Google Form and Site along with Flipgrid that asks them to Escape to EdTechLandia. Its better in person, but it works online too. I know it’s cheesy, but it cleverly uses Flipgrid in 2 ways. It has embedded videos from Flipgrid on the site that give clues that can be answered in the Google Form that is also on the site. Separately it allows responses about the thinking of participants on the site as well.You can check out a webinar I gave the gives a brief overview of the various methods.
The next method is to set up the grids (now topics and groups) as the locks themselves. This can be done one of two ways. The first method is to have 2 groups. The initial group/grid has all of the clues and is easily accessed by participants. The second group (or topic) can be set up using a student username. Them the username, the password, and the grid code will all be “locks” that need to be solved through the first topic. Beyond that you can also just set up multiple groups with each group grid code/name being the clues to solve. Doing it that way allows for more than 3 locks to solve. I would share more examples of these, but the problem is you wouldn’t be able to see a lot of it if you couldn’t solve the clues. But I will soon complete a more detailed walkthrough video to make it clearer if it wasn’t
QR Beak Ins
#QRBreakIns are kind of like the inverse of Breakout Edu. They are a little harder to do remotely (though not impossible as I did one with some math teachers and students). The benefit is that all puzzles must be solved collectively rather than the possibility of having certain students take over (like I do in a real escape room). Also it gives teachers more control because the locks aren’t as definitive, so you can adjust as you go depending on needs and expectations. Basically you’re asking students to complete a series of tasks related to a theme. Some of the tasks are directly linked to Flipgrid. Other tasks like discussions, MicroLabs, YouTube responses could be responded to in Flipgrid especially during remote learning. This method would prevent any frustration from students getting stuck on a lock and it allows you to ask for an additional or improved response if you deem the student’s response “insufficient to open the lock”. All credit to this concept goes to author, educator, and fitness fanatic John Meehan. He has created a number of slide decks and challenges he has shared on his Edrenaline Rush pages that you can explore. He even created a Pandemic specific one.
The most popular game that Flipgrid has been used for is scavenger hunts. These are called Fliphunts. So what is a FlipHunt? Well, yes, it is a search, but it can be complex and integrated into instruction. On an elementary level you can have students recognizing shapes in their environment. On a more advanced level students can be recognizing real world examples of SAT analogies. The content is important but even more is the process that involves moving around while engaging in active learning. Not only does that make it a game that is more engaging, but it taps into physical memory as well.
The process of creating one is only as complicated as you want it to be. Flipgrid provides an informational guide. An while I’ve made a few of my own, I think it’s better to share a Fliphunt Collection of some of the best ones out there. And it is important to note that these were originally the brainchild of the amazing Kathi Kersznowski. So I think the best way to sum them up is her words below or you could watch her training video too.
Let me be clear, Fliphunts are not Webquests. But for some reason you may want students to remain seated or stick to practicing online research skills. In the Solar System Webquest, you can use Flipgrid to screen record your research and then record your work with your partners. It’s less active, but it can still be a lot of fun.
I know there are a lot of choices and limited information about each of these, but my hope is that you will be inspired to begin playing and conversing with your students through the #GridGames that best suit their needs. I hope there’s at least one or two elements here that peak your interest. Beyond that though I hope if it did, you will share your creations with me so i can know how the joy may be spreading.