Group games tend to be a hit with faith formation classes, but we cannot add a game to the lesson plan just to play a game—games should enhance the lesson in some way. That said, there are many great options for student games, many of which are inspired by television game shows. I recently decided to try a game inspired by Let’s Make a Deal with my seventh graders.
As in the show, the students—the “contestants”—could win prizes just by being chosen to play, and they could trade up or down to better or worse prizes based on the choices they made during their time with the host. The experience would be a lead-in to our conversation about making moral choices. Many choices we make have no particular consequences, such as what to eat for breakfast or which pair of jeans to wear. When we make moral choices, however, we need a conscience built on a firm foundation. We don’t want to make decisions on a whim and then cross our fingers and hope for the best deal behind “curtain number three.”
I prepared for the session’s activity by collecting some prizes and containers for each one. The prize options included candy, a faith bracelet, prayer cards, a key chain, a pencil, and a calendar. The prizes can be anything you have available that would be appropriate to your grade level and circumstances: religious trinkets, stickers, run-off copies of pictures or prayers, and more secular options like small toys or a toothbrush. The important thing is that some of the prizes have to be less desirable than others. In my case, the least desired prize was the pocket calendar with uninteresting cover art, given several months into the year.
Each prize needs to be in some kind of container, so the children won’t know which prize is the best. I used boxes of several sizes and some envelopes. One of the boxes was a cereal box, and that attracted more attention than a larger box, even though the prize it held wasn’t cereal.
I chose contestants by having them answer review questions based on last week’s session. Once I had my contestants, I presented the first with an option to take the prize inside the cereal box or a larger box. When he made his choice, I made him wait to open the box, coming back to him with the option to trade for what was inside an envelope. I ran similar rounds with several other players.
When the game was over, I allowed the contestants to open their prize packages, and it was fun to see the reactions to each. The entire activity excited the class and grabbed their attention. It was a fun way to start our time together that session.
Have you tried a game show-inspired activity in your class? How did it go?