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Trash to Treasure (Board Games in the Classroom)

As we are in garage sale season, now is a great time to pick up some cheap board games. These games don’t even have to be in great shape or complete. The random playing pieces (like dice, chips, board markers, or checkers from a partial set) can be used in a variety of ways with your students.

The pieces of the games, boards included, can be modified for classroom use and incorporated into student projects (one of the choices for our Earth Science project is to make a review game).

An idea I recently read about in Differentiated Assessment Strategies: One Tool Doesn’t Fit All, by Carolyn Chapman and Rita King, is to have students place the red monopoly houses on the main idea and green houses on supporting details.

Other ideas:

  • Students can place a red house on a math problem they are stuck on and as the teacher comes around the room, they will be able to stop and help them.
  • Students can lay a red, yellow, or green playing piece on the corner of their paper to show their comfort level with the concept being taught.
  • Use a deck of cards to create random groups. (All the 4’s are in a group, all the hearts are on a team, the Aces are team captains, etc.)
  • Give a sand timer to a student who easily gets distracted or who needs limits. They can try to complete a certain number of problems in 2 minutes.
  • Use play money as part of your reward system or to practice money skills.
  • Use colored marbles or chips for a lesson in probability.

Here is a shopping list for your next garage sale outing. You may have to think outside the box and look inside game boxes to find these goodies:

  • spinners
  • dice
  • cards
  • checkers or chess pieces
  • game boards
  • play money
  • marbles
  • place markers
  • dominoes
  • letter tiles
  • sand timers

Because my cat, Ellie, is an indoor cat she can’t go to garage sales. But, she does like to play good old-fashioned board games!

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Tweedle Dee and Ellie playing a Lego game.

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Ellie takes her turn at Shrek Monopoly. (One of my LEAST favorite games of all time.)

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Ellie and Tweedle Ian play Yahtzee (with foam dice because they are silent!)

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Guess Who? Yep, Ellie again!

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4 responses

  1. great ideas! especially for the monopoly board pieces. there are so many pieces and cards etc that come with that game! just a thought… you know the board game markers for monopoly? (the shoe, the dog, etc) maybe they could be used to assign some type of role in the class for a day? like: the shoe will collect everything, the hat gets to ask a question when someone makes a presentation… etc. 🙂

    1. Ah good thinking about the class jobs. So many possibilities. Looking forward to reading other ideas. Thanks for your comment!

    1. Thanks for reading!

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