Cloze activities in history class are a great way to reinforce student learning and force students to use their brains with critical thinking exercises while making a fun and competitive game out of it. While all Cloze activities test students’ subject matter knowledge and engage their brains in problem solving, this Cloze activity adds one more learning component: it gives students valuable practice working with others in a group towards achieving a common goal. Since the game design for this Cloze activity requires that all members of a group have the same results if they are to “win,” it forces students to listen to and help each other along as they play the game.
This Cloze activity covers Columbus’ voyages and their impact on the indigenous peoples of the New World. It is designed to follow the included chapter "Columbus 'Discovers' the New World" from my textbook "We Take Nothing by Conquest". The activity works best when students have read the associated chapter, although it will also work for students with general knowledge of Columbus’ voyages. The activity is designed as a competitive game where students are put in groups of 4-5 students each, and the groups compete against each other to be the first to complete each Cloze paragraph. Since the game design requires each member of the group to have the correct answers, it forces students in the group to teach and cooperate with each other in completing the task.
There are six paragraphs in all, with each paragraph constituting a “round,” so that every group has several opportunities to “win,” which keeps students engaged throughout the entire activity. The activity is simple to set up, instruct and play, and since it is designed as a competition, students are immediately pulled in. Be prepared for noise!
*5 pages of informative and interesting text (the chapter "Columbus 'Discovers' the New World" from my textbook "We Take Nothing by Conquest")
*master answer sheet
*PowerPoint presentation with the answers to each paragraph, and including pictures and maps to stimulate discussion and enhance understanding
All materials are provided as word documents and PDFs in one zip file.
Setup is easy, as it requires only copying game sheets for each student. I’ve played this game in my 8th grade class for years, and it never fails to be a big hit.
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