Monday, November 30, 2009

Poker Chip Test Review

I stole this idea from Kate over at f(t) and modified to make it mine. I thought it worked great and would like to share with you.

I don't know about you, but I dread test review days. How do you get the students to take the reviews seriously? You want for them to see the importance of doing the review for the sake of learning, but instead all you hear are comments like "Is this for a grade", or "Do we get extra credit for doing the review?"

I've been trying to collect interesting ways of reviewing for tests and I have shared a few like my Test Review Bingo game. Today we played something called Poker Chip Test Review. I'll admit, it involves a little bribery, but I'll do just about anything to get my math models kids to study for a test and actually do the review.

Here is what you need:
1. 5 poker chips for each group
2. A test review for each person in the class
3. One worked-out answer key for each group

1. Place students into groups of 3-4 and have them appoint a "Chip-Master" and a "Key-Master". I told them that the chip master should be the bossiest person in the group and the key master should be the most responsible person in the group.
2. Hand out 5 poker chips to each chip master, the reviews to each person in the group, and an answer key to each key master
3. The poker chips represent 1-2 bonus points on the test the following day. I made mine worth two since my math models kids usually have such low test grades.
4. The role of the chip master is to keep the group on task and to be in charge of the chips.
5. The role of the key master is to keep the answer key face down and to check the answers for the group after they finish each problem or section of problems. (Be sure the key master understands that they have to do the review also)
6. Teacher circulates around the room answering questions and confiscating chips as the need arises.

Here is what I confiscated chips for (decide what is important to you and make your own list):

1. Group is off task or not following classroom rules. (Today I took up chips for talking about non-math related subjects, cell phone texting, profanity, etc)
2. Copying answers directly off answer key
3. One or two members doing the work and the others copying that work
4. Asking me a question that they had not discussed with the entire group before asking me.

At the beginning of class, I was very strict and tried to confiscate several chips right away. This got the rest of the groups busy . I was amazed to see them actually discuss problems and help each other. With six groups, I was able to easily spend quality time with each group. I would stop by and discuss the set of problems they were working on and talk about what they needed to remember for the test tomorrow. I was also amazed at how seriously some of the chip masters and key masters took their jobs. It really kind of surprised me. They did not want those chips taken away. I only had one group in each class that had the full 10 points at the end, and one poor group only had one-token left at the end of the period.

Overall, it was a successful day and an idea I'll definitely use again.


Jen @ lil Mop Top said...

I like that idea! I will have to try it soon! I am going to try to play black jack with my class which could be done on a review day too. Kids work in pairs and start with one or two chips. The groups work out a problem that I will put on the overhead. If they get it right, then they get to be in the next round of blackjack. If they are wrong, they have to sit that round out. Hopefully it works out ok!

Kate said...

I forgot about this one! Thanks for reminding me!

Ricochet said...

Can you email me at

Kim said...

I love this idea and plan to use it next week when we start reviewing for the semester exams! Question: how does the chipmaster manage handing out chips? Or are the chips just counted for bonus points for every person in the group, depending on how many chips are left at the end of the review?

Kim Hughey said...

Kim, the chip master is really just in charge of the chips and keeping everyone on task. At the end of the period, I tally up the chips and record the bonus points for each group.

Kim said...

I'm just checking back in to let you know that I used your Poker Chip Test Review the last two days with my 10th grade biology class. I was a little skeptical, especially with my two more talkative classes. I am floored - it worked SO WELL!!!! My coteacher and I were so impressed by how hard the kids worked. Really, most of the groups still had their five chips at the end of the period. I shared it with another teacher and she, too, had amazing results! This review will go into my regular repertoire. Thank you so much!

Louis L. said...

I saw you speak at CAMT this summer in Grapevine. You had so many great ideas and it was probably one of my favorite sessions.

I tried the Poker Chip idea this last week in my Trigonometry class. These are lazy, but well-behaved, seniors. It worked GREAT! I also told them I would take up a chip if they asked me a question without consulting their partner, notes, or book FIRST. I had nearly 100% engagement (there's always that stubborn one) but watching them search for the answer and stay on task the whole time was great. I will definitely try this again later. Thanks!

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