This activity was a huge hit with my students, as naturally they are highly competitive.
For this activity I had students work solo or in groups of two with the goal of naming at least one country for every letter of the alphabet (understanding that some letters are not represented). They were assigned to do this without any additional resources (maps, books, phones, etc), beyond the brain power of themselves and partner(s). The catch was that after the 10 minutes they were given, we would share out, and any people who had listed the same country would have to cross it off (thus taking away a point).
So, for example if I had written down Cambodia for the letter C, group two had China, group three had Canada and group four had Cambodia, both my group and group four would need to cross off Cambodia. This challenge forces students to think beyond maybe the first nation that came to them.
After the competition, my students mentioned that this would be fun for world capitals or cities within our state as well. This activity built confidence and added an element of fun to my students for that day!