19 Fun ways to use a hangman game in the classroom
7 letters; description: ‘game’; now, start the guessing! Yes, I’m talking about the hangman game. Guess a word based on a description and some clues in as few guesses as possible, because after a couple of guesses, you ‘hang’, and you’ve lost the game. We used to play it with pen and paper, but nowadays, you can also play it digitally.
Use the BookWidgets Hangman Widget to make your own hangman, and play it with your students in a fun, interactive, digital way. In this blog post, I will show you how to use the hangman widget in your classroom, depending on the class you teach. I think you’ll be surprised to find in how many ways a simple hangman game can be applied to your lessons!
Before diving into different topics, I want to show you how you can use a hangman game, not depending on any specific course.
Use a hangman game:
- to introduce yourself as a teacher. What are your hobbies/favourite food? Let the students guess
- to introduce a new classroom theme, topic or subject
- as an extra answer check for your students
- as a repetition exercise to see what students still know about a lesson topic
- to summarize a topic or story in a few words. Those words are important keywords that students have to guess
- to hide hidden messages that are part of a greater lesson
- as an answer form for single answer questions
Tip: Sometimes the hangman drawing isn’t the right fit for your students. With BookWidgets, you can also play this game with a snowman.
Tip: Combine this widget with other widgets from the BookWidgets library.
1. Teach vocabulary
Use the hangman widget to let your students study some vocabulary lists. You can also create a little competition: the student who finds the most words gets one extra point on the next vocabulary test.
I created this widget to let my students study French vocabulary. In this game, they have to find different body parts. You can also create this with different kind of word lists. You can choose the difficulty level, and in this way, it can also become a game for the youngest.
2. Build sentences
You can also use the hangman widget if you want to teach your students to build sentences in a creative way. Let them guess words around a certain topic, and when they have found 3 different words, let them build a sentence with it. In this way, you can learn them new words they can use in a sentence.
In the widget above, I used words around the topic: ‘sea’. Teach your students vocabulary about the sea, and afterwards, you can let them tell a story with the words they found.
3. Spell words
When you find out your students have difficulties spelling words, just use the hangman widget. List some words with tough spelling, and let the students spell them from beginning to end. The hangman symbol will alert your students if they make mistakes.
In this widget, I chose 22 words that are hard to spell. Students have to guess one of the words, and when they find it, they have to spell it again for the whole class.
Use the title of the hangman widget to write down a computation your students have to solve. Make it as hard or easy as you want. Students have to solve the sum/subtraction/multiplication/division by pointing out the correct ciphers.
To make sure your students aren’t just guessing, create another widget such as a digital whiteboard where you let your students solve the whole calculation step-by-step, and afterwards they have to fill in their answer in the hangman widget for checking.
5. Problem solving
For mathematics, you can give your students a riddle they have to solve before giving the right answer in the hangman widget. You can change the characters they can choose from in numbers. This way, you can easily use this widget in your math class.
In this widget, the topic is the Theorem of Pythagoras with the riddle: How far do you have to place a ladder of 3.6m from a 2.6m wall so that the top of the ladder is equal to the top of the wall? Combine this widget with the whiteboard widget, where your students first have to solve the riddle before having a guess for the right answer.
6. History Keywords
Let your students guess different keywords around a historical topic or theme whithout telling them the theme. After finding these keywords, your students have to find the topic or theme these words are related to. This is an ideal introduction if you want to learn your students something new, as well as a repetition when going over your course again.
In the widget above, students have to guess words about pyramids. Let them look for a connection between the words, so they’ll remember better. So: why is that particular word related to “Pyramids”? Explain.
When you taught your students several historical events, you can have them search for one of those events using the hangman widget. You can also combine this widget with the timeline widget. When they have found an event, let your students fill in this event in the timeline widget. This way, they not only get to know the event, but they also know when it happened.
In this widget, students have to guess the different historical eras. Afterwards, they have to create their own timeline, ordering the different eras they found in the hangman widget.
Let your students play the hangman widget when you want to teach them more about important historical people. When you taught them the most important people from a certain era, let them play the hangman widget to see if they can guess the right persons of that era, and whether they can explain their story again.
In the widget above, students have to guess the most important people from the Middle Ages. This hangman widget can also be used if they have difficulties studying those names.
9. Name the animals
Another fun way of combining widgets is this: for biology class, let your students guess for the name of an animal in the hangman widget. If you want to make it more difficult, don’t choose the normal animals we all know. When your students have found the name of the animal, let them search for the animal with the Image Viewer Widget. Use an image with many animals intermixed, making it difficult for them to find it.
In the widgets above, I have picked several animals from the zoo. Let your students first take a look at this image. Students can zoom and pan around. Then, let them guess as many animals as possible.
10. Indicate biological drawings
When your students have difficulties learning the names of certain parts of something, use the hangman widget. Take the drawing as background, and point out the parts they have to name.
In this widget, you see the drawing of a muscle. Students have to name all the parts of the muscle.
11. Economic curves
Teach your students every economic curve there is with the hangman widget. Teach them first the types of curves out there, and then let them guess what curve it is. If they have guessed correctly, they will also need to be able to draw it correctly, which they can do via the whiteboard widget. This way, they will know the different curves faster, and will be able to draw them correctly.
In the widget above, students have to guess the supply and demand curves. Let them draw these curves in this split whiteboard, and let them calculate the new price when demand rises or falls.
12. Goods or services
Use the hangman widget to teach your students all the different goods and services there are. Then, let them look for an example on the internet.
Teach your students more about European countries and capitals. Use the Hotspot Image widget to teach them about their flags as well.
Use the hangman widget if you want to teach your students more about the different types of landscapes on this earth. Let them guess a landscape, and once they have found one, let them search the internet for an image of that landscape. They can upload the image in this worksheet, and give a description with all the characteristics of it.
15. Music genres
First, let your students discover the genres of music that exist worldwide. Have a look at the Every Noise At Once database for inspiration.
After they found a genre, give them the task to look for a song (via the internet) of a genre they guessed. Let them tell each other about it, so that they can get to know different genres.
16. Musical instruments
Start your lesson by playing a piece of music in which your students can hear a lot of musical instruments. Let them play the hangman widget and look for the instrucments they could have heard. This teaches them to recognize the sounds instruments make.
Use this music video as an example. In this 2-minute video, you will hear more than 20 different musical instruments. Your students will surely recognize 5 or 10 different instruments, so they can start guessing in the hangman widget. If they want, they can write them down on a paper first.
17. Introduce the sport
You can even use the hangman widget in your sports class. Create a widget with the lesson topic/sport of the day. Let them take turns guessing to a letter of the word or the whole word. The first two students who can find out what the sport/topic is can choose the teams (if applicable).
18. Periodic table
It might seem difficult to use the hangman widget in your chemistry classes, but it’s not. For example, you can teach the students all the elements from the periodic table. Then, let them play the hangman widget and guess the elements. Once they guessed an element, have them write down the abbreviation of this element. This way, they get to know the elements and their abbreviations in a quick and fun way.
19. Laws of physics
Let your students use BookWidgets to find out about the topic of the day. You can start with the YouTube player widget where you show them a video that you can link to a physics topic, as shown in the example.
Then, let them guess the lesson topic in the hangman widget. As you can see, this is Newton’s first law: the Law of Inertia.
That’s it! Now start creating your own hangman widgets, it just takes a couple of minutes. With your own ideas, you can definitely create more awesome hangman widgets than I have created in this post. What’s more, the hangman game widget is an ideal widget to combine with other widgets, in order to make your lessons even more fun and interactive.
Do you feel like trying out the hangman widget? Create your first one, right here: