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California Countdown (Grades 4-12)


Subject: Any


Objective: Test Review and Teamwork.


Materials and Preparation: Prepare two types of questions appropriate to the subject area, “Toss-Up” questions and “Bonus” questions. “Toss-Up” questions should require accuracy and speed. They may reflect your tests’ true/false questions, fill-in, multiple choice and short answer. “Bonus” questions, since they may be answered by the total team, may require lengthy answers involving cause and effect and detailed explanations.


Student Grouping: 2 teams, each with a captain.


The Play:

  1. Ask a “Toss-Up” question. The first hand up on either team is allowed to answer the question.

  2. An incorrect answer costs the team 5 points, and a student from the other team gets a chance to answer the question.

  3. If answered correctly, the team gets 10 points and a chance at a “Bonus” question.

  4. A “Bonus” question may be answered by the team’s captain after discussion with the team. A correct answer is worth 20 points. There is no penalty for an incorrect answer.



  • 10 points for a correctly answered “Toss-Up” question

  • 5 points penalty for incorrect answer to “Toss-Up” question

  • 20 points for correctly answered “Bonus” question


Comments or Variations: Student enthusiasm for this variant of College Bowl is unbelievable. After students become familiar with the appropriate types of questions, have each student write 4 good “Toss-Up” and 4 “Bonus” questions with answers and reference page numbers if necessary.


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