Sparking Student Motivation: Baseball Review Game

Linking up with one of my favorite bloggers, Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching, for Spark Student Motivation Saturday.

Planning lessons to engage and motivate my kiddos is one of my favorite things to do. Seriously! Research shows that they are more likely to learn when they are engaged- we all know that. Beyond that, I just enjoy my day a lot more when we get to have fun! If the kids are happy, they are more likely to participate and listen. Motivation is especially important on test review day. Fifth grade is the first year of middle school in my district, so the kids are getting used to a higher level of independence. A great motivational and engaging review day activity is just what they need. Higher engagement and interest means better recall, which means better test scores. Win for everyone! So, what do I do? We play baseball!

To start, I project this image on my whiteboard. The kids are broken up into random groups, and each group is given a different color dry erase marker.  I have a practice test, a bucket of numbers, and a bucket of "runs." This will make sense soon, I promise.

Each group comes up and chooses a number from the bucket. Whatever number they get is the problem we will be working on from the practice test.

The group works together to get an answer. Everyone has to talk with their group, even if they are unsure. This lets the kids that really understand the topic help those who don't understand as well. While they are working, all the other groups are trying to solve it, too. If the group that is "up to bat" gets it wrong, it goes to the next group with no additional time to work. You have to be ready with your answer when the question comes to you! This keeps them all working and on task because they never know when they will have the opportunity to score another point. Once everyone is ready, the group answers. If they get it right, they get to choose from the "run" bucket.

 The choices are:

  • Single - move one base
  • Double - move two bases
  • Triple- move three bases
  • Homerun- score!
  • Steal- steal the next base if you are already on base. If you were out last time, you can't steal!
  • Out - your player is off the diamond and back to the dugout. 
 Here's where the diamond comes in. The designated hitter from the group draws their player on the correct base, depending on what they choose. This is totally their favorite part.

Since there are so many teams playing, it can look like the bases are loaded pretty easily. My kids that LOVE sports debated this with me for a while, because they thought they should get 3 points if they got a homerun. However, if the bases are loaded with other teams, I don't think that counts. :)

Every time a player reaches home, the scorekeeper records one point in the scoreboard. The game gets really exciting near the end, because depending on what a group draws they could win it all or lose it all in just one turn. 

So, there it is! Test review with baseball. This game is a great way to help kids work collaboratively, ensure engagement, and practice for an upcoming test. I'm a big fan! What do you do to spark student motivation?


  1. This is AWESOME!!! I am so doing this tomorrow to help prepare for our upcoming division test. My kids will love it. I really like how you don't have additional work time so you have to be ready. Genius!!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

    1. ​Glad you like it! My kids seriously love it. Totally gets them motivated and engaged. Hope it goes over well! :)​


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