Recall: The Knowledge Game

Language Arts Activity

In this activity, students create a game show based on information about
ancient civilizations and cultures.


     Reference material about ancient civilizations, including
textbooks, nonfiction books, and encyclopedias
     Large index cards (or tagboard cut to about that size)
     Hole punch
     Twine, yarn, or rings to bind cards
     Drawing materials and props as needed to create game show
atmosphere (contestant tables, scoreboards, stopwatch,
     category lists).
     Video and/or audio recorder (optional)


   1.Discuss with students television game shows that require
contestants to have learned information about many subjects.
     Explain that they are going to have the chance to participate in
that kind of a show, but first they need to prepare
     resources that the contestants can study. These resources are
mini-encyclopedias about ancient civilizations.

   2.Have students divide into research teams, each of which is
responsible for making notes about one of the following
     ancient civilizations:
          Abbasid Caliphate
          Ancient Greece
          Ancient Rome
          Byzantine Empire
          Empire of Mali (Africa)
          Song Dynasty (China)
          Tang Dynasty (China)

   3.Have students write, on index cards, a summary in outline form of
the information they gather. This summary should
     include information on as many as possible of the following areas:
          Biography (that is, important historical figures)
          Time period
          Science and technology

     Suggest that students use graphic aids (such as time lines and
maps) where necessary to make the information easier to

   4.On the last card of each encyclopedia, students write at least five
study questions that can be answered by studying the
     information in the encyclopedia.

   5.Have students bind each set of cards to form books, one for each
civilization. Create a sign-up sheet for each book.
     Explain to students that everyone who hopes to compete in Recall:
The Knowledge Game should study each book and
     master the information in it before going on to the next one.
Suggest that if students study in pairs, they can quiz each
     other, using the questions at the end.

   6.To prepare for the quiz show, form a planning committee by choosing
one student volunteer from each research team.
     This group draws up the plans for the program by considering such
issues as these:
          Physical set-up
          How contestants compete (for example, individually or as
          Organization of the questions (that is, by what categories)
          Point value for each correct answer
          How contestants signal their readiness to answer
          What happens if the contestant gives the wrong answer?

   7.Choose other student volunteers to serve in the following
          Question experts, who write the final questions (based on the
ones in each encyclopedia) and judge the answers
          for accuracy.
          Production crews, who put together the set for the quiz show
and run the video or audio recorder.
          Writers, who write a script for the masters of ceremony and
          Artists, who design the set.
          Directors, who give cues and keep things moving.


Once you know how many students wish to compete, you might have a series
of classroom quiz shows each day (rotating
responsibility for questions, production, master of ceremonies, and
announcer), culminating with a championship match in front
of a wider audience on the last day.

To make the game show format even more authentic, have writers and
graphic artists in the class prepare commercials for the
sponsors: information providers or resources. For example, one team
might write and produce an ad for the library, another for
on-line information sources, and a third for a local museum. Integrate
the commercials into the final production.