EMC² Blog

Smash Fourth Quarter Boredom

Do you have what it takes to harness the power of the mightiest elemental forces that the world has ever known? In Skill Tree Smashers, rival teams will compete to become the ultimate Force of Nature! And in less than 10 minutes worth of advance prep, this activity can become a power-packed addition to ANY teacher’s upcoming review day. Including (but not limited to)…

  • Making up questions on the spot and asking them to the entire class, “Quizbowl”-style
  • Dividing students into teams and letting them work through a massive set of numbered textbook problems
  • Breaking a regularly scheduled worksheet into a fast-and-furious competition of student-centered excitement

For this epic clash of wits and willpower, your students will use your content knowledge to summon all sorts of elemental powers from the realms of Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire. As students tap into their powers to level up their abilities to strengthen and diversify their skill trees, they’ll unleash all kinds of superpowered mayhem from all four realms of fury!


And here’s the absolute BEST part for teachers: there is literally ZERO advanced preparation required for for this activity. Simply fire up the fully editable slideshow, and print out a set of score cards to each team. From there, you can literally just crack open your textbook to ANY page and start playing! Or assume the role of “Quiz Master” and turn your classes into an all out brawl of content recap.

The important thing to keep in mind is that this resource can EASILY be used in place of ANY normal review day. Think, for example…

  • A single-day review right before a big end-of-unit exam (class length ≈ 60 minutes)

  • A warm-up activity that unfolds over the course of several days in a row (activity duration ≈ 10 minutes per day, where teams pick up their gameplay and scoring right where they left off at the end of the previous day)

  • A State Test review activity that ties together content from a semester or more (class length ≈ 90 minutes +)

  • A hands-on review in place of / or in addition to an alternative assessment (example: students use LEGO bricks to build X physical depictions of something you’re studying, or students draw & annotate X pictures to represent what they’ve learned, etc.)

To make this resource super flexible for any course or content area, we’ve drawn this activity up with detailed instructions for total customization and two completely different ways to play. Even better: this resource pairs perfectly with DOZENS of other playful pedagogical approaches that can be found inside of the Penny Pedagogies collection here inside the EMC² Learning library — so you can mix, match, and modify the activity to suit the unique needs of your students in any way that you’d like. Once your students get the hang of the playful pedagogy, this game really is as easy as 1-2-3!

The activities featured in this blog post are just a handful of the 700+ resources available in the EMC² Learning library. This entire library is available to Engagement Engineers and members of the Creative Corps, and is included with your annual site membership. We hope you’ll consider joining us as an Engagement Engineer to unlock a full year of site access. For complete details including our exclusive limited time offer for annual site membership, click here.

"This site is a total game changer for both me and my students! Thanks for all the ways you level up my learning and classroom."
Carol McLaughlin
1-8 Teacher

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