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Fun Test Prep Games Your Students Can Play Today

Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

Gamifying, a recently coined term meaning the act of adding games or game-like elements to an activity to encourage participation, is a great technique to use with your upper elementary students during any type of test prep, especially with fifth grade students during state testing prep season. Test prep games and activities bring out the natural competitiveness in students and helps them get excited about an otherwise monotonous task.

There are quite a few easy to implement games that you can you use on the spot to engage your students during test prep, no expensive games nor fancy boards needed, unless of course you'd like to include them. 😉


Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

Some of these easy to implement games are highlighted in this post. You can quickly have students create these in class. You can also download the game boards to display on your projection board to use with the entire class or print them to have pairs of students use them.
Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

Tic Tac Toe is a classic game that can be used at any time with little-to-no prep. I personally enjoy using our printed boards which are placed in page protectors. It allows students to use dry erase markers which they love and adds and extra oomph to the activity. Of course, regular paper and pencil will definitely get the job done.

This game can be used with pretty much any task card set (or even a worksheet). Students each work independently to figure out the correct answer. The pair of students BOTH need to answer each of the questions provided to them. Player 1 will then turn the card over and check the answer.

  • If Player 1 gets the answer correct, he or she will take their turn on the board by placing an X in the spot they choose.
  • If they get the answer wrong, they lose their turn to mark the board. If their opponent, player 2, got the answer correct, they get to steal the turn and mark the board with an O. (This step is important because it keeps both players accountable for answering ALL questions as opposed to having them sit out every other question.)
  • It is now player 2's turn to go first on the next question. Even if they have just placed an O on the board, it is now their turn because the previous question was a "steal." 
  • The game continues until one of the players gets three in a row. They can keep a tally of their wins on a score board.
Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

Four in a Row, a.k.a. Connect Four, works very well with pair of students, but it can also be played as a whole class activity.

To play as pairs, give students a game board. Again, they can be placed in a page protector to be used with dry erase markers or just have students write on the worksheet.
  • Assign a colored marker to each player. Just as in Tic Tac Toe, students answer ALL questions. Follow the rules for Tic Tac Toe, but instead of using Xs and Os, students will color in a circle with their color. The first player to get 4 in row wins. 
  • You can tell students that the must start "stacking" their game pieces by starting on the bottom row as the real game does, or you can give them the liberty to color any circle on the board.
Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

Dots and Boxes can truly be a great option for reviews with many questions since it is a lengthier game. Like Tic Tac Toe, students can receive a game board or they can create a game board on their own by making it look like the one pictured. (Give them an array to create if they are drawing it out themselves. Ex. 6 rows, 5 columns)

The object of the game is to close off as many boxes as you can and 'claim them' by writing their initials inside the box. 

Just as in Tic Tac Toe and in Connect Four, students must answer each question. The rules listed above will also apply with this game. Students must answer the question correctly in order to take a turn. If they answer the question incorrectly, the other player can 'steal' their turn.
  • For each turn, players will connect two dots by drawing a horizontal or vertical line from one dot to another. 
  • Drawing the 4th line of a square and closing it means that player gets to claim the square. 
  • If a player closes a square, they must go again. Players must be careful not to create long chains that can give their opponent a chance to claim many boxes in one play.
Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

Race to the Top is another game that can be used with pairs or even in groups. Give each player or each team a game board. Just as in the other games, students must answer all questions and get a chance to steal a turn. The student (or team) who uses all their all blocks first building the tallest tower, wins.
Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!
Students can also draw a ten frame on a sheet of paper and shade them in as they get questions correct, or they can use a set number of snap blocks (or Legos 😉). 
Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

Touchdown! is played exactly as Race to the Top except instead of trying to build the tallest tower, students are trying to reach the end of a football field first to be the first to make a touchdown. To play as teams, you can create a large football field on the floor of your classroom or wall and assign teams a different colored football. As teams answer questions and get the answer correct, they move "10 yards." To use this system with pairs of students, you can print out a football field or have students create one on a sheet of paper creating 11 lines one inch apart. They can then use any game pieces to move down the field.

Hopefully, these easy to implement games give you some options to spice up your students' test prep.

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Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

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    Also, please feel free to share with us some of the games you have incorporated in your test prep sessions. I'd love to know what they are.



    Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

    Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

    Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

    Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

    Engaging and fun test prep game ideas for your upper elementary classroom that you can implement today!

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