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Tag Team (all grades)


Author: Annette Patterson, high school science teacher, New Mexico


Subject: Any


Objective: Memory and Review


Materials and Preparation:


  • A list of categories for play.

  • A watch or clock with a second hand.


Student Grouping: 2 equal teams


The Play:


  1. Have each team stand in a single file line on opposite sides of the classroom.

  2. Teacher calls out a category (example: colors).

  3. A relay race begins between the two teams to see which team can write the most correct examples of the category on the chalkboard within the specified time (example: 30 seconds).

  4. The team with the most correct answers wins.

  5. Move on to next category and begin another round.

  6. Keep track of overall score.


Scoring: Team with most correct answers wins.


Comments or Variations: This games combines large motor activity with memory and review to create a high level of excitement. The categories become more complex depending upon what the class has been studying.


  • Primary elementary teachers call out “colors” and the students write as many colors as they can. Other categories could be “numbers” or “alphabet,” and the students race to win.

  • Upper elementary teachers use names of states, multiplication tables, spelling words, types of mammals, or planets as categories – whatever they want to review.

  • Middle and high school classes can create categories for any subject area. Annette uses Tag Team with each of her classes from basic science to chemistry. The students may be called upon to make lists of the attributes that distinguish a bird from other animals, or to write the signs and names for chemical elements.


Have more than 2 teams. Cooperative learning groups make great teams. The more teams you have, the more students are directly engaged at one time. You could have all the teams playing at once, or go head to head in a tournament format. (Tip: If you use a tournament format, never have teams watching. Play all the head to head games simultaneously so students don't lose focus by not participating.)


If the teacher emphasizes the rule that repeats don’t count, teams will check each other’s work.


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