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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Group Tic Tac Toe

Group Tic Tac Toe is a fun way to review immediately after an activity has been completed, to review for a major test, or to prepare for major exams or end of course tests. It all starts with the creation of tic tac toe boards (see samples below).

I recommend drawing these boards on poster board with a permanent marker and laminating them for use year after year. Each board must have 9 questions printed on card stock to place on each board created. See sample (Figures 1 and 2) below to get an idea of size and how it should look. All questions are placed on the board, question side down, until they have been chosen and answered by a player. You can use the question template provided (Figure 3) to make it easier. For each board create an answer key (Figure 4) to be used during play. Next, you will to run 9 X’s and 9 O’s (Figures 5 and 6) to use as game tokens. Lastly you will need to create a score sheet for each student to keep score on (see Figure7). I would laminate the board questions for future use but find that the X’s and O’s last a long time without laminating. I just run a few more if any get too bent up from use. This game is best done in groups of three and most successful when the boards vary instead of all having the exact same questions. For example: if you have 27 students in your class you would prepare 9 boards plus two additional boards making it a total of 11 boards created. Having a couple extra boards helps you with groups that finish early. You never want any group to have to sit and wait to continue work. You do not have to have all different questions; just vary each board so that no two are identical. If you are just reviewing after a quick activity I recommend two sets of two different boards and half the class starts with one and other half starts with another and then they switch. Again, have one extra board with a combination of questions from both boards created for the group that finish early. Also, it is acceptable to have a group repeat a board in order to keep everyone busy.


1. Create Tic Tac Toe Board Kits (Board, questions on cards, typed up questions and answers, X’s and O’s, score sheets). I use rubber bands to collate, baggies to put things in, and paper clips to hook it all to the board. This keeps things very neat and tidy.
2. Place students in groups of three.
3. Number members of each group 1-2-3.
4. Number 1 in each group is given the Tic Tac Toe Board Kit. He/she takes it apart and lays the board in the middle of the table. He/she gives a score sheet to all students in the group, gives X’s to one student and O’s to the other student in the group, keeps the question and answer sheet for himself/herself, and lays the question face down on the board.
5. Students #2 and #3 play tic tac toe. When all questions have been answered or attempted, the score is counted up. Students receive one point for each X or each O that they have been able to place on the board. If either student at any point in the game gets three X’s or O’s in a row, the game is over; and this person is awarded 5 additional points for the win. If no player gets three in a row the player with the most X’s or O’s plays in the next round with player #1. The student with the fewest X’s or O’s now is the keeper of the questions and answers. After these students complete play the student currently with the questions and answers plays player #1. All students must play two Tic Tac Toe games. All scores are placed on the answer sheet and then the board is put back together and the teacher is summoned so a new board can be obtained. The game is over when all students have completed all boards listed on the answer sheet. It is important to note that if your group starts at board 7 then you score it at board 7 on the answer sheet.
6. Troubleshooting: What if someone misses a question? The question reverts to the other student and if answered correctly, they place their symbol on the board. This person
would also get the next question. If no one gets a question correct it is removed from the board by the person with the questions and answers and the answer is revealed to the players for future use.

The figures below can be used to see what the game looks like.

To download these pictures click on the slide show, in the resulting window right click on the image and select "save picture as".

To get files related to this article please email me at smmcnamee@comcast.net

If your computer does not have a program that allows you to click and send email then cut and paste my address into your own email program.

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