Texas Tech University

Using Games in the Classroom

Prepared by Allison Boye and Suzanne Tapp


Are you looking for a way to try something new in your class, review material, encourage participation, or simply break up lecture with an activity?  Consider incorporating games in your academic classes and involving your students actively in the learning process.   


Benefits of Using Games

  • Involves students in active learning
  • Enlivens rote memorization
  • Can encourage students to draw on analysis, synthesis, evaluation
  • Can increase student motivation
  • Leverages a common experience among students
  • Provides intrinsic rewards
  • Can foster a more positive attitude toward the classroom experience – more attention, better attendance, better participation
  • Can improve retention, decision-making skills, and comprehension of general principles
  • Can encourage cooperation

Tips for Incorporating Games

  • Define your educational objectives
  • Keep the games challenging, but not frustrating
  • Provide opportunities for success and positive reinforcement
  • Maintain a combination of knowledge and luck
  • Cooperative teams can be beneficial
  • Be sure to debrief afterwards
  • Try incorporating some student generated questions

Downloadable Templates

Who Wants to be a Millionaire
This template is free, though it includes advertisements. You can create up to 15 questions, and it includes sound effects/music.

This template is free, though users must create an account.

Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader
This links directly to a PPT template. It also includes sound effects/music; it is suggested that you test it out before using in class.

Wheel of Fortune
This links directly to a PPT template, including some "how to" instructions in the notes of the first slide.


  • Millis, B.J. and Cottell, P.G. (1998). Cooperative learning for higher education faculty. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press.
  • Jones, K. (1997). Games and simulations made easy: Practical tips to improve learning through gaming. London: Kogan Page Ltd.
  • Rosato, J.L. (1995). All I ever needed to know about teaching law school I learned teaching kindergarten: Introducing gaming techniques into the law school classroom. Journal of Legal Education 45 (4), pp. 568 – 581.
  • Sarason, Y. and Banbury, C. (2004). Active learning facilitated by using a game-show format, or who doesn't want to be a millionaire? Journal of Management Education 28 (4), pp. 509 – 518.


Teaching, Learning, & Professional Development Center