Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Showdown - a revision activity

Although Revision Races remain my favourite revision activity in the Maths classroom, Showdowns are just behind them in second place. I first discovered Showdowns when, Linda Masters, a colleague of mine introduced the Maths Department to a range of Kagan Structures. A number of these structures are now used regularly within the department although some adaptations to them have been made. This is how I use a Showdown for revision in Maths.

Cue Ennio Morricone!
Students work in small teams of about 4 students to answer a range of Maths questions.
These questions are displayed on the whiteboard one at a time. (I use Smart Notebook software). You can make up your own questions but old examination papers are a good source of questions too.

For each question, every group nominates a leader. At my school, we make the leader wear a silly hat to identify themselves and most students seem to enjoy this!

Initially all students must work on the question individually for a period of time - mini-whiteboards are an excellent resource for this. When an appropriate amount of time has passed - enough for all student to have a good go at the question - the team are allowed to discuss and compare their methods and their answers. The leader then has responsibility for deciding on the correct answer (if there is any disagreement) and showing this answer to the teacher.

An example question.
The teacher then awards points for correct answers or even for good working out on a difficult question. These points are then recorded on a score board.
After each question, all leaders need to be prepared to be chosen by the teacher to offer further explanation about their answer or the method used. A good explanation will receive a bonus point.

A Showdown scoreboard.

Before the next question, new leaders are appointed (and the silly hats move round).
Then the Showdown continues as described above.
I usually find that I need about 15 questions for a 50 minute lesson but this can vary depending on the difficulty of the questions posed.

At the end of the Showdown, the team(s) with the most points will win prizes.

You can download an example showdown by clicking here.
If you'd like to know more about how I use Showdowns, please let me know.
And if you're using interesting and engaging revision activities, I'd love to find out more from you.


  1. The revision races and showdown sound like fantastic resources - would you mind sharing them and if so where can I download them from?

    1. I'm happy to share but they aren't available to download anywhere. If you let me have your e-mail address I'll send you some examples.

    2. sarah.hastie@queenkatherine.org - many thanks

  2. could I have some examples please. They look just the right thing to liven up some of my students.

    1. Hi Mandy, I'm happy to share an example if you let me have your e-mail address.