I used to call it the tornado game, but after I was turned onto the adorable godzilla art done by 55 Inch Entertainment for their Godzilla parody, I always call it the Godzilla game. A review game structure so simple and effective, even 1st graders get excited!
The game requires a dice, a Godzilla print out, a guide to what each number on the dice means, and any flashcards or props for each topic. My poster above for the 1st graders quizzes them on (1) numbers, (2) colors, (3) animals, (4) fruits, (5) body parts via Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, and (6) a random Godzilla question.
At the beginning of the lesson I put the poster and the Godzilla on the board, draw a little green “ground” line and then pretend to ponder the first cluster of desks (ichigosha). “This is team… Jewel Pets? Olaf? Banana?” I go on until a kid shouts out something and that becomes the team name. The more bizarre the better. Going through the effort to give each team a name makes the little ones more likely to realize they’re working together to get points rather than alone.
After each team has a name, written on the board, I give the first kid in the front row of the first team a dice and gesture for them to roll it. If the dice comes up 1~5, they have to identify an object on a flashcard for that item. Customize your selection here. When they get it right, and you should try to make it easy for them to get it right the first go, then they get a point on the board. For the Godzilla game, points build a house.
All of this is just like a regular quiz game. The hook is if a kid rolls a 6. If that happens, well, Godzilla comes to town.
The premise is that rolling a 6 calls Godzilla to town and he will demolish your house if you get the question wrong. But, you can protect your house by getting the question right. For the first graders I just choose a topic from the regular 1~5 at random. However, if your house is saved, well… GODZILLA IS STILL HUNGRY! The team that rolled a 6 has to choose another team’s house to send Godzilla to. I like to make a big show of it. The paper Godzilla hovers over the eraser as I go, “RAWR,” and erase the unlucky team’s house.
I don’t really explain what Godzilla does until a kid rolls a six. “Oh, it’s six! Godzilla quiz~! What’s this? Strawberry? Perfect! Team Dragonball is safe but Godzilla is HUNGRY! What team?” Once one team gets their house destroyed by Godzilla, it’s on like Donkey Kong and all the kids are eager to play and crush each other.
I play until each kid has gone once, and then play rock paper scissors to choose the final kid to play for each team. It’s usually a raucous hit and can be adapted to any level.