Engaging Classroom Games for any Subject: Series II

Monday, July 12, 2021

Welcome back to Engaging Games for any Classroom Series. This week I will be explaining two more high engagement games you can use in your classroom for any grade and any content. All you need are problems written on tiny pieces of paper. 

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This week’s games are called Suck it Up and Hot Potato

Suck it Up


- Tiny Problems cut out. - One set should be enough problems but if you want to make a separate color for each group to collect that is fine. I usually do one set for the class to share. 

- Tiny Problems recording sheet

- colored straws (I recommend plastic straws. Buy thin straws if you teach younger students. Thick straws make it a tougher challenge.) 

Set up

Put all of the Tiny Problems face down on a table, desk or flat surface. Split your students into groups in advance. Have straws divided so each group member gets a different color straw to avoid mixing straws between students. YUCK!

How to play

  • Students get out a Tiny Problems recording sheet (Optional: Dry erase boards to use as scratch paper.)

  • Students join their teams and pick a different color straw. Give them 15 seconds to establish an order of who is going first to last OR say, “Red straws go first, blue go second, yellow go third”….and so on.

  • One student at a time will head to the Tiny Problems table, suck up air through their straw to pick up a problem and bring it back to their group. 

NOTE: This DOES have a learning curve and some students might struggle at first. I tell them to try three times to “suck it up” with their straw, then bring it back to the group.

  • EVERYONE in the group needs to answer the question.

  • When the whole team has an answer, they write it in the recording sheet in the corresponding numbered box. 

  • The next student to retrieve a Tiny Problem needs to return the old problem, face down, to the table before “sucking up” a new one for the group.  

  • This continues until all the Tiny Problems are solved.  

You can go over the answers in class or collect the recording sheets. If you want to make it more competitive, set a timer and the group who completes the most questions correctly wins!

Hot Potato


-Tiny Problems cut out. (Only the teacher will need a set.) 


-Tiny Problems recording sheet OR dry erase board and markers.

-A “musical” Hot Potato OR something to pass around music. 

Set up

Have your class sit in one big circle. Each child should have their recording sheet or a dry erase board for recording their answers. 

How to play

  • Students will be sitting quietly in a circle ready to listen.

  • The teacher will read a Tiny Problem aloud to the group and EVERYONE needs to answer the question.

  • When each student has an answer, the teacher will tell the students to begin HOT Potato.

  • The children will pass the potato until the music stops.

  • The child who is holding the potato when the music stops gets to share their answer with the group. 

  • The students check their boards, ask questions if needed and then prepare to answer the next question. 

You can even make multiple circles so more children get a chance to share an answer. I’ve had one giant circle with four or five stuffed animals circulating as potatoes. This is another way to give more children a chance to share their answers when the music stops. 

Thanks for stopping by today. Please come back next week for two more games in the series that will keep up student engagement in your classroom with minimal prep. Join my email list for more game ideas like this and an exclusive EDITABLE math freebie to get you started right away.

Happy Teaching! 


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