Bingo Across the Curriculum

How To Make The Game Of Bingo Work For Almost Every Subject In Your Classroom

Bingo is a wonderful teaching tool to have at your fingertips no matter what you are teaching. You can even make it up as you go along! The basic premise of Bingo is simple: players start with a grid filled with answers and they cover up spaces as the corresponding item is called from the Bingo "caller." Winners make a complete line going vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Or, you can play "Black Out" which means the winner is the first person who covers all of the spots on the card.

Preparation

There are a few ways you can prepare for playing Bingo in your classroom.

  1. Buy a Bingo set from a teacher supply store. Of course, this is the easiest way, but we teachers don’t make too much money so this option may not make too much sense.
  2. A cheaper option requires you to prepare all of the Bingo boards ahead of time, making sure that all of the boards are configured differently from each other.
  3. For older students, you can hand over some of the preparation to them. Prepare one Bingo board with all of the options filled in. Also, keep a copy of a blank board. Make copies of each page, one per student. Give the children time to cut apart the pieces and paste them wherever they want on the blank boards.
  4. The most teacher-friendly way to do Bingo is give each child a blank piece of paper and have them fold it into sixteenths. Then they get to write the terms into their bingo sheet from your list (on the chalkboard or overhead) and voila! Everyone has their own unique Bingo board!

    You can play Bingo with virtually any subject. Here is a rundown of some of the different ways you can play Bingo in your classroom:

    Click ahead for specific ways to play Bingo, depending on the subject matter at hand...

    Language Arts

    Phonemic Awareness: Kindergarten teachers can use this type of Bingo to help students learn the sounds that correspond to the letters of the alphabet. On the Bingo chart, place single letters in each of the boxes. Then, you call out the letter sounds and the students put a marker on the letter that make each sound. Or, say a short word and ask the kids to identify the beginning sound.

    Vocabulary: In the Bingo chart boxes, put the vocabulary words your class is currently studying. You will read out the definitions and the kids have to match them up. Example: You say "to find and bring back" and the students cover up "retrieve."

    Parts of Speech: Get creative with using Bingo to help kids remember the parts of speech. For instance, read a sentence and ask the kids to place a marker on the verb in that sentence. Or, ask the kids to look for a verb that begins with a "g." Make sure there are all different types of words that begin with that letter so that they really have to think about it.

    Math and Bingo? Yes, they really do go together...

    Math

    Subtraction, Addition, Multiplication, Division: Write the answers to applicable problems in the Bingo boxes. You call out the problem. This is a great way to reinforce the math facts that kids must memorize. For example, you say, "6 X 5" and the students cover "30" on their game sheets.

    Fractions: In the Bingo boxes, draw various shapes cut into portions with some of the parts shaded. Example: draw a circle cut into fourths and shade one of the fourths.

    When you read out the words "one fourth," the students will have to determine which shape represents that fraction.

    Decimals: Write the decimals in the boxes and call out the words. For example, you say, "forty three hundredths" and the kids cover the square with ".43."

    Rounding: For example, you say, "Round 143 to the nearest 10." The students put a marker on "140." You may want to write the numbers on the board instead of just saying them.

    Place Value: For example, you say, "place a marker on a number that has six in the hundreds spot." Or, you can put a large number on the board and ask the students to place a marker on the digit that is in the thousands place, etc.

    There are even more ways to bring the magic of Bingo to your classroom...

    Science, Social Studies, and more!

    Vocabulary: Similar to the vocabulary game described above, you say the definition of a word from your unit of study. The children place a marker on the corresponding word. Example: You say, "the planet closest to our sun" and the students mark "Mercury."

    Facts: You say something like, "the number of planets in our solar system" and the children place a marker on "9".

    Continue with other number-based facts.

    Famous People: Focus on famous people associated with your unit of study. For instance, you say, "This person wrote the Emanicaption Proclamation" and the students put a marker on "Abraham Lincoln".

    Bingo is a wonderful game to keep in mind when you have a few extra minutes to fill in the day. Get creative and have fun with it. Your students surely will!