Fun Classroom Activity: Bingo

Bingo! Who doesn’t like the thrill of finding the last item on your list, jumping out of your chair, and shouting you won? Bingo is an incredibly fun game to play in group, is very easy to play, and can help rehearse anything from language vocabulary to math and historical facts. Everyone can play the game together, regardless of level. And best of all, you can create your own, customized Bingo cards for iPad in only a few minutes using the Bingo widget.

The basics of Bingo are as follows: each student gets a large card with squares containing words, phrases or pictures:

Everybody gets the same words, but in a different order. Each time the teacher calls out a word, the student searches for the right square on his card, and marks it. The first student to have five words highlighted in a row yells ‘Bingo’, and wins.

You can make lots of small variations on the game to make the game more accessible to your audience:

  • Replace the words on the card with pictures
  • Don’t call out the words or pictures in the squares, but give hints that lead to what’s in the square
  • Make students play in teams of 2 so they can help each other finding the words more quickly
  • When someone has 5 squares in a row, make them do something with the 5 squares (e.g. use the words in a sentence, conjugate the verbs, …) If they don’t succeed, they have to reshuffle their card and wait for the next 5 words, or until someone else wins.

After checking the answers of the winner (you can use your own Bingo card to remember the words), give the winner their price: a small treat, a “No Homework” pass, … Or, if you don’t have prizes to give out, you can reward the winner by letting them come in front of the class, and letting them take the role of the caller for the next round.

What you put on the card is of course only limited by your imagination. Below are a few examples that can help you get on your way.

Language Bingo

The most straightforward subject to train with Bingo are languages. It’s therefore not hard to come up with a lot of different Bingo language games:

  • Definition Bingo: Read out the definition of a word, and let the students find the word on the card.
  • Translation Bingo: Write Spanish words on the card, but call out the English translation.
  • Picture Vocabulary Bingo: Use cards with pictures of the (translated) words you’re calling out.
  • Critical Listening Bingo: Embed the words in the squares in a sentence, and read out the sentence.
  • Greek/Hebrew Bingo: Put all the letters of the Greek or Hebrew alphabet on the card.
  • Minimal Pairs Bingo: Use pairs of words that vary only in a single sound (bat + but, desk + disk, fan + van, sing + thing, …)
  • Synonym/Antonym Bingo: Call out synonyms or antonyms of the words on the card.
  • Rhime Bingo: Call out rhyme words of the words on the Bingo card.
  • Dolch (Sight) Word Bingo: Use sight words (such as the ones from the Dolch word list) to help the younger ones learn to read.
  • Conjugation Bingo: Write all subject pronouns (I, you, he/she, …) on a whiteboard, create a Bingo card with verb infinitives, and call out the infinitives one by one. When a student has 5 words in a row, pick a pronoun, and make the student conjugate all their verbs for that pronoun. If they succeed, they win the game; otherwise, they have to clear their card, and the game continues.
  • Word Classes Bingo: Read out sentences, and tell the students to mark the square with the verb/noun/pronoun/… of that sentence.
  • Free Writing Bingo: Turn a vocabulary Bingo game into a free writing exercise: continue the game until everyone has at least one Bingo row; then, let everyone write up a story with their Bingo row of 5 words at home.

Math Bingo

Learning math can be fun with Bingo too! Here’s a variety of things you can do:

  • Arithmetic Bingo: Read out sums, subtractions, divisions, and multiplications, and let the students find the answer within the numbers on their card. You can pair up students to help them find the numbers more quickly on their card.
  • Fraction Bingo: Let the students find the fractions you read out within their squares. The card could contain the fractions explicitly written out (e.g. 23), or have a visual representation of the fraction such as pictures of pies with a number of pieces highlighted.
  • Decimal Bingo: Put decimals on the card, and either call out the numbers literally, or as fractions.
  • Roman Numeral Bingo: Fill the squares with roman numerals (XIV, MCM, L, III, …).
  • Clock Reading Bingo: Fill the squares with pictures of clocks with hands in different positions, and read out the time.

Physical Exercise Bingo

You may not take your iPad to gym class, but maybe you can have students perform some small and short exercises as an intermezzo during a regular class. Put a set of short physical activities on your card (lunges, Jumping Jacks, sit-ups, crunches, push-ups, squats, jumps, arm spins, …), and read them out one by one; after the entire class did the activity, students tag the activity on their card. Continue the game until someone has 5 activities in a row.

Breaking-The-Ice Bingo

Another fun application of Bingo is to get to know each other at the start of the year.

  • Head Shot Bingo: Put photos and/or names of all students in the class on the card, and optionally complete the list with staff members, teachers, the principal, … (they’ll love to see themselves on the cards) Call out people by name, or give clues about the person you’re describing.
  • Personal Property Bingo: Write general phrases about students on the card, such as “has a birthday in March”, “has a sister at this school”, “has as many siblings as you”, “plays a sport”, “plays a musical instrument”, “likes pizza”, “is a vegetarian”, … Ask everyone to go around the classroom and interview other students one by one, and sign off properties from the squares if they apply to the other person.

Miscellaneous Subjects

Of course, you can come up with cards for just about any subject. Here are a just a few we haven’t mentioned yet:

  • Mendeleev Bingo: Put the symbols of the elements of the periodic table on the card, and read the elements out by name
  • Famous People Bingo: Put pictures or names of famous people (e.g. U.S. Presidents) on the card, and call them out by name or by clues about their lives or achievements.
  • Capital Bingo: Put capitals of countries on the card, and call out the countries
  • Biology Bingo: Create cards with pictures of animals, plants, leaves, …
  • Seasonal Bingo: Create cards with pictures or words about the current period (Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Valentine), and call out the words or clues that lead to the words

<Insert Idea Here>

I’m sure you have your own great idea of a Bingo game you could play in your next class. So head on over to our downloads page, and get started creating your own Bingo games for iPad with a free trial of BookWidgets.

25 bingo games for in the classroom

Remko Tronçon

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