Bingo Lesson Plans For Teachers

Most people think of bingo as a purely social or leisure activity, but nowadays variants of the game are also being used for serious educational purposes. Many K-12 teachers have introduced bingo into their lessons, and are using the game to assist them in teaching a wide variety of different subjects including English, foreign languages and math.

In educational variants of bingo, the teacher plays the part of the bingo caller, and the students are each given a bingo card (although you can also put students into groups if you want). Generally speaking, the educational versions of bingo are played according to roughly the same rules as the standard game, although in some cases it may be necessary to tweak the game mechanics somewhat. What does change however, is that special bingo cards are used – these contain items selected by the teacher and prepared in advance of class (this doesn’t have to be a big job, as with the help of a computer and some bingo card maker software, it’s easy to print as many custom bingo cards as you want).

Here are some ideas for using bingo in lessons:

* Bingo can be used to help teach reading an English. Bingo cards might be printed with letters or words, and students might be required to find the letter that begins the teacher’s bingo call (phonemic awareness bingo), that is the sight word read out by the teacher (sight word bingo), that matches a definition given by the teacher (vocabulary bingo), or matches a part of speech clue given by the teacher, such as “an adjective beginning with P” (parts of speech bingo).

* Bingo can be used to help teach math. In this case the bingo cards can be printed with numbers (although generally not the usual bingo numbers) or with math problems. In the latter case, students must not only check off squares on their bingo cards, must write in the correct answer to each square. Some math topics that could be covered in this way include addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (for example, “find the square that contains six times five”),  fractions and decimals (“find the square containing three quarters” in response to which students need to locate the square containing “0.75″, etc.), and rounding (“find the square containing two point eight rounded to the nearest whole number”).

* In French, German, Spanish and other language classes, bingo cards can be printed with words chosen from that language, which students must match up to English words read out by the teacher. You can also do this the other way round, so students must English words to foreign language bingo calls made by the teacher. Or, in the case of more advanced students, why not try simply playing the whole game in the particular foreign language?

* The idea of the teacher giving clues as bingo calls and students being required to find matches can also be applied to teaching key facts in other subjects whether that be history, geography or science. The only limit really is the teacher’s imagination.