Competition in the classroom can increase the learning of all students. In many of my quizzes, I pit the girls against the boys or one half of the class against the other half. Lower secondary and upper primary school students love the contest so much so that some students will try to bend the rules. So be aware and set up rules that punish those that “cheat”.

This particular strategy introducing the element of competition in the quiz between two parts of the class, e.g. left side v right side; girls v boys, needs a scoring system and scorers from each team to begin with.

Here is how I play out the two sided quiz.
• The questions asked of each group could be the same or different.
• I had points for correct answers, an opportunity to pass and, maybe, negative points for a wrong answer.
• Answers which are passed may be answered by the other team for equal, more or less points. More points encourage both teams to work hard to get the answer before passing.
• If both teams fail to give the answer the first time, the original team may opt to give a new answer. I could penalise a wrong answer here, offer more points for the correct answer or revert to the original points for the question.
• With more difficult questions, I would increase the points for a correct answer.
• I mostly select who answers the questions. Alternatively, each side may opt to give the captain the answer. This would be difficult to control with larger groups.
• A time limit may be imposed. (Thus you will need to decide a time, say 10 seconds, and select time keepers, one for each team with the opposite team member being the time keeper for their opposition.)
• These quizzes can be noisy. So I would warn the teachers next door or go to a “sound proof” room.
• I remained the sole judge on all issues.
• I decided on penalties for calling out answers to team members who are supposed to answer the question and other misdemeanors I would decide on. I would specific these before the quiz starts.
• The questions in the quiz would relate to class work from that teaching period. Thus the quiz acts as a revision exercise.
• To create some chaos and fun, I often change the rules or the points awarded. It can keep the students on task and “on their toes”.

If these quizzes are well organised, there can be lots of fun with much learning occurring unbeknown to the students. I call it “learning by stealth”.

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