This activity works well to turn the rather banal but necessary activity of going over a worksheet into an engaging game. It requires no prep and if desired, can be easily conducted entirely in Latin.
The activity is based on a television game show called Hollywood Squares. In the U.S., it ran for many years (too many - if you ask me.) Nine celebrities, would sit in a balcony in a 3x3 grid - a giant tic-tac-toe board. The host, would ask two contestants questions and the contestants would call on the various celebrities to answer the questions. The contestants would then either agree or disagree with the celebrities. If they agreed with the celebrity and the celebrity was correct, a lighted X or O would appear above the box. If they agreed with the celebrity and the celebrity was wrong, then their competitor would get the square. The goal was to get three X's or three O's in a row - basically win tic-tac-toe. Below is a short video of the show so you can see how it works.
Luckily the classroom version of this is far more entertaining than the game show. The only preparation for the game is to create a worksheet that has either 9, 16, or 25 questions. The answers should be short and definitive. First, have the students do the worksheet. They can do this for homework, or during the first part of the class - whichever. Once the students have completed the worksheet, draw a grid on the board that corresponds to the number of questions on the worksheet. Number each square. Now announce to the class that you will be playing a game and that you need two contestants. Call your two eager volunteers up to the front of the room and put the names of the rest of the class into the squares of the grid. When you are done, you will have something that looks like this:
Before play begins, assign one contestant to be "X" and the other to be "O." Whoever is X goes first. I usually ask the two contestants to do a round of "rock-paper-scissors" to decide this. To play the game, the first contestant chooses a space in which he or she want to place an "X". Let's say my first contestant wants to put an "X" in space #10. He calls on Maria, who reads question #10 and tells the contestant what she thinks is the correct answer. The contestant then agrees or disagrees with her. If he agrees with her and she is correct, then the contestant gets an "X" in the space. If he agrees with her and she is wrong, then his opponent gets the square and puts an "O" in the space. Likewise, if Maria gives the wrong answer and he disagrees with her, then the contestant also gets an "X." Unlike the TV game show, the goal here is not simply to get 4 in a row, but to get more X's or O's than your opponent. Anyone who gets 4 in a row, gets an extra point. In other words, if one contestant succeeded in putting an X in squares 1, 5,, 9 and 13, then he or she would get 5 points.
Here is a picture of a game in progress:
The game is over when all the squares have either an X or an O in them. Add up the number of X's and O's, making sure to add a point for any rows and declare a winner.
Tips to Make This Game Work:
Growing up, I hated this game show. The "celebrities" were mostly actors in cancelled sitcoms who had trouble finding other work. I was embarrassed watching their attempts to be witty while answering stupid questions. Plus, the re-runs of the show seemed to take up far too many time slots after school when I was hoping to watch cartoons. As a classroom activity however, Latin Hollywood Squares has yielded many enjoyable classes and breathed new life into going over homework or review sheets.
Leave a Reply.