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Cut Throat (Grades 3-12)


Subject: Any


Objective: Review of specific information.


Materials and Preparation: Chalkboard space, chalk, prepared questions or problems.


Student Grouping: Divide the class into 4 equal teams and have teams count off.


The Play:

  1. The teacher picks two members of each team to go to the board to write the answer a specific question or to translate a passage as in a foreign language course.

  2. Each pair of students at the board may collaborate with each other and with the seated team members. One of the students acts as writer, the other student as the runner.

  3. Caution students not to get too loud or the other team may hear them.



  • First chalk in tray – 2,000 points

  • Second chalk in tray – 1,500 points

  • Third chalk in tray – 1,000 points

  • Fourth chalk in tray – 500 points


Further Play:

Now the class plays Cut Throat! Imagine a passage that each team has translated into French. Each team’s translation is written on the board. The teacher takes each team’s translation in turn and has the other teams critique it.


When an error is found, the teacher subtracts a given number of points from that team’s score. Consequently, teams can hack away at each other’s scores by finding errors – a fiendishly enjoyable activity. Teachers can assign different values to different kinds of errors as they see fit. As an option, teachers can also assess penalty points for an incorrect critique. This prevents students from guessing. Allowing team members to collaborate in the critique adds a strong element of cooperative learning.


This fast-moving game with high scores allows for punctuation and spelling review for English, computation for math, history answers in complete sentences, or dictation for a foreign language.


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