7 Effective 5th Grade Science STAAR Test Prep Games With Low Prep

A group of students ready to play science STAAR test prep games.

Preparing students for the state assessment with 5th-grade science STAAR test prep games is way more fun than completing packet after packet of practice questions. Students love any opportunity to chat with their friends. And, oh my, do they get excited when you tell them they get to sit somewhere different for the day. So, take advantage of your students’ enthusiasm for talking and moving around by letting them play a fun, high-engagement review game. Here are 7 easy 5th Grade Science STAAR Test Prep Games that you can play with your whole class. And, best of all, none of them require a ton of prep time from you!

Four Corners

A crowd favorite, this game has virtually no prep. This game gives all students the opportunity to move around the room. It also has a built-in support system for those students who may not feel confident in their answers.

How to play:

  • Have a set of multiple-choice questions. These can be task cards, questions from your district curriculum, or released STAAR questions from previous years.
  • Write one answer option on four pieces of paper. For example, one paper will have “A” written and another will have “B”.
  • Then, tape the papers on the wall in each corner of your room.
  • Have students stand up and push in their chairs. Make sure that the floor is clear of anything that could trip a student.
  • Read a question and the answer options out loud. When you are finished, invite students to move to the corner that represents the answer they think is correct. Students should move silently.
  • When all students have chosen a corner to stand in, have students discuss why they think the answer in their corner is correct.

Quiz-Quiz-Trade™

I was in my 3rd year of teaching when I first learned about this Kagan cooperative learning strategy. It quickly became my go-to strategy for any end-of-unit reviews and for playing science STAAR test prep games. You can play for as many rounds as you have time for, be it 5 minutes or 30 minutes.

How to play:

  • Gather task cards, open-ended science review questions work best because they facilitate peer-to-peer conversations.
  • Give each student one task card. Task cards should have a correct answer on the back as a peer coaching tool.
  • The teacher tells students to “stand up, put a hand up, and pair up.”
  • First, Partner A quizzes partner B.
  • Then, Partner B answers
  • Next, Partner A praises or coaches.
  • Finally, partners switch roles.
  • Partners trade cards and thank each other.
  • Repeat steps 1-6 for as long as you have time.

** Source: This structure has been adopted with permission pending from Kagan Publishing & Professional Development from the following book: Kagan, Spencer & Kagan, Miguel. Kagan Cooperative Learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing, 2009. 1.800.933.2667. www.KaganOnline.com.

Play a Science STAAR Test Prep Gameshow

Gameshows are a crowd pleaser for sure! There is just something about going head-to-head against other teams that gets students super motivated. For this one, divide your class into 3 teams. No need to gather any questions, the game has everything you need. That means NO PREP for you! Just display and play.

Teacher leading class for science STAAR test prep games.
Child standing at board to answer a 5th grade science review question.

How to play:

  • Grab this fun science STAAR test prep game from my shop.
  • Display the game on your Smartboard or overhead projector.
  • Then, divide students into three teams.
  • Teams will then take turns answering questions to earn points.
  • Make it extra special by offering up homework passes or a small candy to the winning team.

Play a Science Review Board Game

There are a couple of really fun options for this. Since we are talking about science STAAR review games for the whole class, your students will love playing a life-sized version of a board game. It doesn’t need to be fancy and it is possible to keep the prep to a minimum.

How to play:

  • You could go all out and make super realistic game board pieces. However, I like to keep prep simple (and fast). To create a basic life-sized gameboard you will need 25-30 pieces of construction paper. You can laminate them if you want to reuse them. Choose 3-4 pieces to write something like “skip a turn” or “get a piece of candy” on.
  • Place the papers on the floor around your room to create a “gameboard”. Tape the papers down to prevent students from slipping!
  • Then, divide the class into 3-4 teams. One student per team would be the game pieces and walk through the path as the game progresses. The rest of the team can sit in their desks or around the perimeter of the gameboard.
  • The first team to reach the end of the gameboard wins.
  • You can use any questions you’d like to play the game. I have a set of 25 science review questions in my 5th Grade Science STAAR Review Digital Board Game that are aligned with the type of questions students will see on the STAAR.

Another option for playing a board game with your whole class is to go digital. This option has no prep and doesn’t require rearranging your classroom. You just need to divide your class into 3 teams, display the digital science review game and PLAY!

5th Grade science STAAR test prep game on a smartboard.
Digital board game showing a 5th grade science review question.

Build a Skyscraper as a Science STAAR Test Prep Game

To play this game you will need miscellaneous building materials such as craft sticks, tape, spaghetti, or marshmallows. Students will be competing to see which team can build the highest skyscraper after earning building materials by correctly answering review questions.

How to play:

  • Gather a supply of test prep questions. I really like short response science review questions for this.
  • Read the review question out loud.
  • Students should silently write their answers on their own whiteboard.
  • Then, ask students to use their answers to come up with one agreed-upon answer for their team.
  • Have teams share out their answers with the class.
  • Each team that gets the answer correct can send someone to the materials table to pick out one item to build their skyscraper with. They will keep their building materials in a pile until the end of the game.
  • After all questions have been asked, teams use the materials they won to build a skyscraper as tall as they can. They can ONLY use the materials they selected after getting a question right.
  • The team with the tallest skyscraper wins!

BINGO

Playing BINGO for a science test prep game is perfect if you are looking for a fun game but want students to stay in their seats. It’s also a great option for reviewing without being too loud. I like to keep playing until there have been 3-4 winners. Then, if there is still time, you can start a new game.

BINGO review game to prepare for the 5th grade science STAAR.
Calling cards to use with the 5th Grade Science STAAR Test Prep BINGO Game.

How to play:

  • Grab our Science STAAR Test Prep BINGO game from our TpT shop.
  • Print out and laminate as many BINGO cards as you need. This is a one-time prep! From now on, it will be no prep.
  • Decide what pattern will be considered a winning BINGO.
  • Call out vocabulary definitions (included with the game) and students will find the matching image and word on their BINGO cards.
  • When a winning pattern has been covered on their card, the student calls out “BINGO”
  • After you double-check that the card is actually a winner, you can end the game or continue playing.
  • Make it extra fun by offering a small prize to the winners.

Scavenger Hunts Make Great Science Review Games

Take this one outside for maximum excitement from your students. All you need is 15-20 review questions and some space to tape them up. You can make your scavenger hunt extra fancy by adding clue cards for finding hidden questions. Or you can just number the questions and tell students they need to find each question and answer it in the appropriate place on their paper.

How to play:

  • Gather a supply of science review questions. They can be multiple choice or short answers.
  • Chose whether you want students working alone or in pairs. If you chose alone, you will need at least as many questions as you have students. If you pair them up, you can have fewer.
  • Number the review questions and then hang them up around your classroom, down the hallway, or even outside.
  • Have students number a sheet of paper with the number of questions you made for the review game.
  • Set students loose to answer the review questions on their papers.
  • Tell students that only one person (or pair) should be at each question at a time.
  • Questions do not have to be completed in order. They just need to be sure to write the answer on the appropriate space on their paper.
  • You can decide if you want to have a small treat (like a piece of candy) for students as they finish the scavenger hunt.

To add a digital component to your scavenger hunt, try using goosechase.com. This app/site adds an extra layer of fun because students have the opportunity to use their devices to further engage in the scavenger hunt. The best thing about Goose Chase is that you can use it for free. 

Science STAAR Test Prep Games Should Be Fun

No matter which of these science STAAR test prep games you choose to play, your students will appreciate the opportunity to review in a fun collaborative way. They are probably already feeling the pressure and stress that is inevitable with taking a state assessment. And so, until we find a way to get rid of state tests, try to make reviewing for them as fun and relaxing as possible.

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