Swat Teams are the Fun Fix

Ready to move beyond tired Jeopardy slides? Try a few rounds of the Flyswatter Game, a no-fail way to keep teens active and excited about test prep.

Six Easy Steps:
1. Create a list of review questions. I usually write at least 40 questions so everyone will have at least two chances to physically get up and play, but the team component helps every student be engaged for every question so you don’t actually need 40 questions for the game to be effective. Even just 20 questions would work in a pinch.

2. Post answer sheets around the room. Recently, I used these character name sheets from The Odyssey to help my freshmen review for their test. Colorful paper helps the answer sheets stand out from regular wall decor. (A ream of hot pink in the photocopy room? Score!) I made my sheets fancy with a frame and bold font, but you could just handwrite the characters’ names with a dark marker and be done more quickly.


3. With masking tape, make a box in the middle of the room.


4. When class begins, break students into two teams. I dangle two bonus points for every member of the winning team as the prize, which always guarantees total buy-in from the class while making next-to-no difference in the gradebook. (Shh…don’t tell ‘em that the points don’t matter much.)

5. Give each team a flyswatter.


Wait, these old ones are thrashed. Give me a second and let me run to the store…


That’s better. Use two different colored swatters so you’ll be able to easily determine which team wins each round.

6. Finally, game time! Each team sends one player to stand in the masking-tape box with his/her flyswatter. After I read the clue/review question, the two students race around the room to be the first to swat the correct answer sheet. The first one to touch the sheet with the flyswatter wins a point for his/her team. Teams are encouraged to help their player find the correct answer by pointing the way to the correct sheet.

WARNING: This game can get loud, so you might want to warn your neighbors the day before you play or institute a no-shouting rule. Also, I always announce the no-touch policy before we play – no pushing, shoving, blocking, or swatting an opponent. Failure to follow this rule results in a loss of point/s to the offending player’s team. It’s supposed to be a non-contact game, people.

I have print-and-play flyswatter games for The Odyssey, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar, and To Kill a Mockingbird available, but feel free to create your own set for any title. This simple-to-make game works for any unit of study, including grammar and vocabulary. Now, let’s have a little fun getting ready for final exams!

Teach on, everyone!

15 thoughts on “Swat Teams are the Fun Fix

  1. Wonderful Idea!! I am going to use it in my class for sure! Thanks a lot!

  2. Margaret Willis says:

    Love, love, love this one! 😍 I’m using this idea!!!

  3. magistra knight says:

    I appreciate this site! and i love fly swatter games.. and i like the team component (and hot pink paper) of this version!
    I also do a version of this for groups of two-three, putting the terms in a grid on a piece of paper. same idea, with teacher directed questions, but each student is involved for every question for competition: the student who finds the answer first smacks the paper and puts his initial in the square. It is also a loud activity but it works and they love it!

  4. Great variation, Magistra! I like the idea of having every student involved for every round. And – yes! – these games do get loud. Best to warn the neighbors. 🙂

  5. Magistra Knight
    I would like to understand more of what you mean. Does each square get used only once?

  6. I have also done a version of this game with two teams but used the white board and the kids got to put the words on it where ever they wanted as long as it was readable from the back of the room. They absolutely love it! To prevent the noisier classes from getting too loud we implemented a no talking rule but could point and gesture from their seat if their teammates were stuck.

  7. Ah, yes! Silent Flyswatter = Genius! Thanks, Tracy, for sharing this great idea. 😀

  8. Theresa Roberts says:

    This is a great idea. Now I just need to figure out what modify it for 38 students. 4 teams maybe?

  9. Oh, Theresa, can we just pause and acknowledge this insanely high class size? Oof. As for making the game work, yes, I think four teams would still work, though I’d try to move the game area to the outdoor quad or a larger room. Those kids are going to be hurdling over each other. Ack!

  10. Took my students outside to play. They had so much fun the principal and APs came out to video them. All around a good day.

  11. Shauna Smith says:

    This is great for one-word answers. I know my students can do this. My problem is getting my students to elaborate on topics, not just answer with one words. Do you have another idea for what I need?

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