Most people are familiar with the game of bingo. Many of us probably think of it as a child’s game, or perhaps as a game played by older people at social events. However what many people are not aware of is that variations on the game of bingo have proven useful in an educational environment, and many teachers have found ways to make use of the game in their classrooms.
To recap the idea of the game that each player is given a card containing a grid of squares, and each square traditional contains a number. The umpire or bingo caller then calls out the number in a random order, and players have to check squares off their cards as the corresponding numbers are called out. The goal of the game is to be the first player to shout “Bingo!” or “House!” on achieving a win number of checked off squares (the winning criteria can be varied and need to be agreed before starting to play – typically, achieving a line or lines of consecutive checked off items is the criteria).
When using the game in the classroom, the game mechanics are, broadly speaking, unchanged (the teacher acts as the bingo caller, and the students are the players). However, what is changed is the items on the cards. Instead of using the bingo cards simply with numbers, they can be printed with words, phrases, mathematical puzzles or even musical symbols. The teacher can also vary the game play by instead of calling out the items on the cards, calling out clues that lead to the items – for example, in a French class, the teacher might call out words in English, and students have to find the corresponding French word printed on their bingo card.
Of course, applying bingo in a classroom in this way will require special bingo cards containing items of the teachers choice. This might sound daunting to any teachers considering the idea – preparing a lot of bingo cards by hand, or even with a word processor, could be a lot of work. Fortunately there is an easy solution – specialist bingo card software that can be used to print the cards – simply enter a list of items to appear on the cards, and the software can print as many bingo cards as you want.