The Buzz Game (numbers, days of the week, months)

Summary

Groups of students count from one to a set number. Along the way, there are numbers they are not allowed to say. The first group to finish counting without making a mistake wins.

Textbooks

  • New Crown Grade 1 - Lesson 4
  • Sunshine Grade 1 - Program 4-2

Materials Needed

  • None

Explanation

Break the class into groups. Groups should have roughly 4-6 students. Depending on the class, lunch groups should work fine. Have the students in each group put their desks together or sit in a circle.

Explain that the goal of the game is to count from 1 to a target number (in this example let's use 20), so the first student in a group says “one,” the second student says “two,” the third student says “three,” and so on. When they reach 20, they've finished and should raise their hands. The first group to get to 20 wins.

To make things more interesting though, there are a few numbers between 1 and 20 that the students cannot say. Instead, they must say “buzz” (or whatever word you would prefer). If a student either says a wrong number, says buzz when they are not suppose to, or says a number when they are supposed to say buzz, the whole group must start over counting from 1.

Once you've explained the rules, have the kids go at it, and keep track of the order in which groups finish counting. After doing a few rounds, and changing which numbers are “buzz” a few times, announce the winning groups.

Variations

If the students seem to have a good grasp on counting normally, you may want to make them count by twos, or fives, or make them count backwards from the set number to 1.

This activity can be used for sequential vocab other than numbers. For example, this activity is easily modified to be applied to months or days of the week.

Tips

Make sure to review numbers a good number of times before you start the game. You don't want the game to fall apart because none of them can count to the target number.

Make sure to walk around the classroom and monitor the students as they are playing, helping out when one student gets stuck.

To help slow students, you may want to assign “buzz” to be a number that comes up every other time that student's turn comes up. For example, if a particularly slow student is the 5th in his group, you may want to assign the numbers 5 and 15 to be “buzz.”

“Buzz” can be defined a number of ways. It can be numbers ending in a certain number (5,15,25,... - easy for younger students), it can be multiples of a set number (“~ no bai su” in Japanese), or it can be just any set of arbitrary numbers.

To help students remember which numbers are “buzz,” you may want to write them on the blackboard.

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