I love my new buzzers and so do the pupils! They add a bit of fun to a wide variety of classroom activities. These farmyard buzzers are called learning resource buzzers and are available here (as well as other places). They are sold in sets of 4, so I have invested in the farmyard set to the left and the answer buzzers below so that I have 8 available.
Simply add to a game a of bingo to add an element of fun, pupils who get a line or a full house press the buzzer instead of shouting bingo. The desks are in groups in my classroom so I place one buzzer on each desk so that it is in arms reach of 5-6 pupils. Check out our blog “Bingo is Jackpot Joy” for other ideas and resources for mathematical bingo.
Again simply put the buzzers in arm reach of groups of pupils when playing countdown. I found this really helps especially when pupils need longer than the standard 30 seconds. Pupils can buzz when they get the answer or depending on ability when they are within 5 of the target number. I use SubTangent countdown here when playing with a class.
Numbered heads together is a Kagan approach, see previous post here on the cooperative learning techniques including Numbered Heads together. In my buzzer adaptation of the game pupils are put into groups, each group is given a buzzer. All pupils complete a question in silence on mini whiteboards. When they have completed the question they stand up, when the whole team has stood up they can then discuss. If they all agree they press the buzzer, if not they must sit back down again until they can convince each other of the correct answer. I would also use a scoring system similar to the one used for relay races (another fun classroom activity described here in our blog “anything but more past papers” which looks at different ways of revising with exam classes).
So many different ways to use the buzzers, they were more than a worthwhile investment!
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The class is split into eight groups and each group is given a bell. Each bell is numbered, if the answer to the question is the same as their group’s bell they should ring the bell. At first the pupils are likely to be too slow to recognise the tune and therefore you may need to go back the beginning and repeat to here the tune. It is an ideal activity for a short plenary.
In this version of the game the order of the questions is important and should follow the same numbers as the tunes provided on the tun sheet. You set some of the pupils a challenge to come up with questions relevant to the topic studying which give the answers to follow one of the tunes provided with the bells.
This bidmas-bells-twinkle-twinkle resource contains questions which if played in the correct order will play the tune “twinkle twinkle little star”.
Another adaption would be to group pupils and give each group a bell. All pupils will be given an answer card, and for each answer card there is a question. The order of the questions is again important. Use the interactive display board to pose a question to the class, if pupils have the answer to the question the ring the bell. The trick here is to first make the questions and answers, one for each note of the tune. Then assign each question card to the corresponding bell by numbering the question card. Then group all the cards for each bell, mixing them up so the order isn’t clear.For example if the tune was 1, 2, 2 (the numbers on the bell) a pupil from the group with bell one would need the answer to question 1 and pupils from the group with bell 2 would need the answers to question 2 and 3! This is slightly more complicated to prepare but worth it. My top tip is to label the back of the answer cards with which bell number it belongs to!
They can also add fun to quizzes or team games, not as tuneful but great fun!
About the Bells
The bells are called handbells and are sold in sets. You can buy them from here and many other places, always check that they come with a handy tune sheet.
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Thanks for reading!