“Jeopardy!” is a popular TV game where participants need to come up with trivia questions that match the given answers. You can create your own jeopardy game to check the knowledge of your ESL students, practice the formation of questions, and just liven up the lesson. In this article, we are going to instruct you on how to create jeopardy and how to play this ESL jeopardy game in a classroom or when teaching English online.
Creating a Jeopardy Classroom Game
On TV, a Jeopardy game typically has 10 categories and 10 questions in each category from easy to difficult. For an ESL Jeopardy game, you can cut down this number to 5.
Follow these steps to play:
- Choose your categories based on topics that you have studied with your students.
- Come up with five questions for each category.
- Give the questions dollar values from $100 to $500, with $100 for the easiest question and $500 for the most difficult one.
We have prepared question samples that you can use or rely on when preparing your own ESL classroom jeopardy questions, for example, belonging to the “Weather” category:
- $100: The state of the air at a certain time and place. (What is weather?)
- $200: Scientists who study weather. (Who are meteorologists?)
- $300: An instrument that shows wind direction. (What is a wind vane?)
- $400: An instrument that measures wind speed. (What is an anemometer?)
- $500: The weather of a place over a long time. (What is climate?)
You can also use the Jeopardy game questions to test how well students have been paying attention during ESL grammar lessons.
- $100: The weather is good. (What is present simple?)
- $200: The weather was good. (What is past simple?)
- $300: The weather has been good. (What is present perfect?)
- $400: The weather had been good. (What is past perfect?)
- $500: The weather will be good. (What is future simple?)
As you can see, just like with most ESL activities and games, there are many ways to play the Jeopardy-style game in a classroom. You can also browse the web to get more inspiration. The internet is full of Jeopardy games for ESL students, including the interactive online templates for ESL jeopardy, which you can play in a computer-based classroom.
Playing the Jeopardy Classroom Game
There can be many variants of ESL Jeopardy games, depending on the number of students in a class and their personalities. You may either stick to our variants or customize the game as you wish.
- Make a grid on the board with fun Jeopardy categories and dollar amounts.
- Make your own grid on a paper and questions written in relevant places to follow the game yourself as well.
- Prepare a question for each square.
- Divide the class into two or three teams.
- Assign a color or symbol to each team.
- One of the teams should select a category and a dollar amount.
- You should read the relevant question aloud.
- The team should answer the question. If the answer is correct, you should mark that square with the team’s color, or symbol. If they answer incorrectly, you should leave the space as is.
- The next team should choose a square, either the same one or another one.
- The game ends when there are no questions remaining.
- At the end of the game, you should add up dollar amounts for each team to see who is a winner.
Here is one more variant of ESL Jeopardy game:
- Print out each of your questions.
- Put each question in its own envelope and label the envelope with the category and dollar amount.
- Divide the class into groups of two or three, where each student will compete individually.
- Hand out the sets of envelopes to each group.
- Each group should place their envelopes on a desk in a grid according to the category and dollar amount.
- The students should take turns to choose an envelope, read the question to the other players and answer it.
- If their answer is correct, they should keep the card. If their answer is wrong, they should put the question back in the grid face up for another person to answer. That person cannot answer that question again.
- If everyone answers a question incorrectly, it should be removed.
- At the end of the game, you should add up dollar amounts for each player to see who is a winner.
Now you know how to prepare and play jeopardy ESL games with your students, whether you’re an active teacher or you’re interested in becoming a teacher. We hope that these activities will help your students both to revise their knowledge and have fun.