Challenge your students with memory games!

Games are a great way to keep your students motivated and have a little fun! We have three memory games we love, Ouch, Jeopardy, and Time Traveler. If you have found others, please share as a comment. These games can be played in your chapters and at home.


Well, not completely…we have modified it somewhat to encourage participation from all, even the most timid, as well as give everyone a chance to answer.

Our game board looks like this.


Print the title and number cards, or make your own. The number cards are glued on to make a pocket in which the question cards are distributed. This one was made from tag board and cardstock–I don’t know if it will make it through the whole year. Edited note: it didn’t 🙂 I think it would work much better on a tri-fold project board.
We begin with just questions from Week 1.

Games2 Games3 Games4

Then, each week new questions are added. A few old ones are left in so no one gets soft on review. The weekly question cards can be found on the resource tab.  I print them on cardstock so they last longer.

jeopardy board Kimberly1  jeopardy board Kimberly2jeopardy board Kimberly3
Colorful board made by Kimberly Wasson, Director, Columbus, OH
(Notice the cards here are flaps, not pockets)
How do we play ? We begin by dividing the group into two teams. Each team member has a number. Team A player 1 goes first. If he gets the answer, his team gets the points. If he misses, his team mates have a chance, but only for half the points. Then Team B Player 1 picks a category. Same as before, either he gets it right for full points, or his team mates help for half points. Play continues with Team A Player 2.  **at home with our families, we let each person play as an individual, unless the group is large enough to warrant teams. Mom and Dad play too! Very young students can be paired. This is one of the best ways we got our teens integrated with the family and out of their independent bubble!
This system works much better for us than “group” answers – you know how there’s always one kid who knows them all and the others don’t bother. “Buzzzing in”–well that will just drive a tutor batty making the judgement call. Our system also means everyone on the team is significant, as no one can melt into the background. (We ditched the answer-is-a-question format of TV jeopardy. It just didn’t seem to go that well with our memory work)
Remember, class time is limited, so keep the game moving quickly. There just isn’t time to hum the whole Jeopardy song while someone thinks! They either know the answer or they don’t. We spend just 20 minutes and usually clear the board each week.

Ouch – another fun game if you like variety.

Ouch uses the same questions as Jeopardy, but you will also need to print the Ouch Cards from the resource tab. Play is a simple and can be done as individuals or teams, giving more options for smaller groups and families. Students for a line (or two lines if team play).  The first student is read a card. (The teacher may choose, it may be drawn blindly from a hat, or the prior student can read for the next student) If he gets it correct, he  picks a card blindly from the ouch sack–either a smiley face, “ouch” bandage, or “ouch” card.  Ouch Cards
The students with the most smiley faces at the end wins, or a number can be set for game – 5-10  works well depending on how long you wish the game to go. But, watch out! If a student draws and ouch card, he loses two smiley faces. Bandages protect you from an ouch, so collect them as you go. If an ouch is drawn, a student may play a bandage to cancel it out.

Time Traveler

Instructions for this fun, timeline only game can be found her: Time Traveler Game Instructions. Nothing else is needed other than a set of Catholic Schoolhouse history cards.

Rewarding the winners. How you chose to reward the winning team is up to you. We keep a running score for 3 weeks in Jeopardy, then make new teams. Our rewards are usually saint medals, holy cards, or CANDY! Don’t get carried away with prizes–the good feeling that comes with a good performance should be fostered as much as possible. I have never used a reward with Time Traveler–the feeling of having the longest timeline is reward in itself! And remember, in real life we lose sometimes. Encourage everyone to study, study, study! Of course, the ultimate reward will be winning the Super Scholar designation at the end of the year!

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