Teaching and Learning

Quick No-Cost Games for any Subject

Quick No-Cost Games for any Subject

During this time of so much stress and change, it’s great to have a quick game to get your students laughing and energized. Laughter has the power to change so many things! In this blog, I’m going to recommend two of my favorite quick, no-cost games: Powerpoint Jeopardy and Mad Libs. I hope if you try either one in your class, you’ll let us know how it went!

PowerPoint Jeopardy

I found out recently that Kahoot, which I love playing with my class as a quick review of topics, has changed their pricing system so that it costs to have more than ten students playing it. Never fear, there is still a completely free way to do a fun review game – PowerPoint Jeopardy! A quick websearch for “PowerPoint Jeopardy template” brings up many free blank ones you can fill with your own questions; if you search for PowerPoint Jeopardy + your subject area, you may even find ones other people have made that you can use as is or modify.

To keep the whole class working while the game is going, I split the class into two teams. When it’s the first team’s turn, I have them all work on the problem, then call on a random person from the team to answer it. I warn the other team that they should figure out the answer, too, in case the first team misses it.

Mad Math (or any other subject)

Mad Libs is such a fun game, yet most of my students (and many professors!) have never played it. I have had a great time playing it in my math class, and you can adapt it to many subjects.

Game play is in groups of about four or five students. It starts with the leader of the group asking for an adjective, a noun, or a verb to fill in the blanks on a secret story. The leader is the only one who can see the story the group is creating. In the end, the leader reads the story out loud to their group, and the group works on the problems under it that they have also created (the problem creation part is not a traditional part of this game.) Below is a Mad Math that I made for my statistics class.


·       The group leader does not show the group this piece of paper!

·       The leader asks each person in the group in turn to contribute a word, letter or number until all the blanks are filled in, including the number blanks at the end.

·       If a person gets stuck on a word, they can use one of the ones on the board.

·       After all the blanks are in, the leader reads the story and the group works out the problems.


My ___________ subway ride started when a giant  ___________   _____________ up from the subway               adjective                                                                   animal         verb ending in –ed               


and into the ____ train.  People were  ___________, but I got a ___________, so I was ___________.

                      letter                                    verb ending in –ing               noun                              adjective


When I got to school, my ___________ professor would not ___________my excuse and said that if

                                                       adjective                                       verb


was late one more time, I would get a ____. What a ___________ day!  

                                                                   letter                adjective


Luckily, I found out that the probability of another day like this is  ___________!

                                                                                                 A number between 0.01 and 0.99



Find the following probabilities

1.  There are _____________ people at the parade. The number wearing sunglasses is ______.

A number between 80 and 90                               a number between 5 and 70

a.       Find the probability that a random person at the parade is wearing sunglasses.


b.       Find the probability that a random person at the parade is not wearing sunglasses.


2.  At a fast food restaurant, _________ people get sick, while __________ people do not.

A number between 10 and 20                               a number between 30 and 40

a.       Find the probability that a random person at the restaurant got sick.


b.       Find the probability that a random person did not get sick.


Feel free to use this story and add your own problems at the end – or use it without problems as an icebreaker. Warning: it’s a good idea to put the definitions of what an adjective, noun and verb are before the start of the game.

Would you like more simple games? Look here at my previous blog.

For deeper, more involved games, check out the CUNY Games network’s page on teaching with games, which includes several amazing guest blogs on history games.


One Response to Quick No-Cost Games for any Subject

  1. Adele Kudish March 21, 2022 at 5:19 pm #

    Wonderful blog post, Kathleen! I have made Mad Libs out of simple poems (Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” for example) to teach about meter and rhyme, as well as using a Jeopardy! template. I guess great minds think alike! Thank you for sharing these awesome assignments!

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message
Skip to toolbar