Hey, Scouters! It’s time for JEOPARDY! First category is “Lesser Known Scouting Pioneers,” you’ll take $100. “The influential leader known as ‘Green Bar Bill’ who was quoted as saying ‘Scouting is a game with a purpose’.” Say it with me, everyone… “WHO IS WILLIAM HILLCOURT?”
Mr. Hillcourt is the dashing fella to the left of Robert Baden-Powell, and is arguably the next best thing in teaching our youth life skills through adventure. He even developed and promoted the BSA’s Wood Badge program and spent his life traveling the world to teach and train Scouts and their leadership. And you thought YOU were a lifer?
Back to his quote. “Scouting is a game with a purpose.” Sounds an awful lot like the Highlights magazine tagline that we all love to say about Scouting… “fun with a purpose.” Sometimes we get so caught up in advancement that we forget the fun part and find ourselves lecturing Scouts about how to be trusted members of society. Not everything can be a game (all things in moderation, right), but kids need to be entertained sometimes if you want the material to stick. A bored Scout is daydreaming, not listening to us rattle off one good point after another.
A quick Pinterest search for “Cub Scout Games” will present you with a plethora of good ideas that help take your den meetings to the next level, memorable over mind-numbing. One idea that I saw pop-up time and again was JEOPARDY! You can find a dozen or more Jeopardy board ideas, analog and digital, that can be suited to meet your next adventure. I adapted the standard tri-fold poster board method so it can be used by all of our dens, for countless adventures, and stored flat in our Pack closet.
JEOPARDY Board Set-Up
First, you’ll need a tri-fold presentation board. Normally I buy these at the dollar store, but the boards you find there are much smaller than the standard board you would find in an office supply store or on Amazon (I purchased this 24-pack of Pacon presentation boards my Tiger year and have used them for countless projects, from this Jeopardy board to an entire Harry Potter themed Blue and Gold Build-Out).
Color-coordinate your categories so the board is eye-catching! I bought a set of library pockets on Amazon (Hygloss Self-Adhesive Library Pockets, Primary Colors, 3×5 inch, 30 pack) to hold my category cards. I created values for each pocket and printed them out, simply gluing them (starting at $100 at the top and ending with $500 on the bottom). Measure out your spacing before you stick them down, leaving room near the top for laminated construction paper rectangles in the same category colors. These should be blank so you can write category names on them with dry erase markers, opening this board up to be used for any adventure your den leaders are working on.
I did a quick Google search for Jeopardy Logos and found a black and white file that I printed out, cut to size, and glued to a piece of foam poster board I had left over from another project. You can buy foam boards at any of your local dollar stores and use them for a lot of crafty Scout projects. I attached the logo to the top of the board using little foam board connectors I made with the same piece of scrap board.
In my original prototype, I wrote out individual index cards for each category and just slipped them into the library pockets. Since then, I’ve made a few sets of cards for some required adventures.
- Jeopardy Value Printable for Pockets
- AOL Building A Better World Category Cards
- Webelos First Responder Category Cards
- Wolf Call of the Wild Category Cards
Print and cut down your cards and insert them into the library pockets, easy peasy! I fully intend on adding to the list of Category Cards as I have the time, so stay tuned.
The last page of the category cards is a FINAL JEOPARDY page. I printed three of these (one for each of my patrols, each patrol acting as a team) and laminated them. Scouts used the blank side to tally their points and the Final Jeopardy page to write their answers and wagers with dry-erase markers.
How To Play The Game
Determine your teams. My den already works in patrols, so it was simple for us to split into patrols and act as teams. I assigned each team an animal sound to use as their buzzer. For instance, we had Team Turkey, Team Chicken, and Team Duck.
Each team gets a laminated Final Jeopardy page and a dry-erase marker. In our case, the Patrol Leader or Assistant Patrol Leader was in charge of tallying their points on the blank side and writing their answer and wager on the Final Jeopardy side.
Explain the rules. The first team to choose a category and answer will be determined by asking each team to guess a number between one and 20. Whichever team guesses closest without going over gets to choose first. All teams are to listen as the answer is read. The team whose turn it is then discusses and provides a response in the form of a question. If they are incorrect, the two remaining teams can “buzz in” by making their team animal sound. (A group of young Scouts quacking and clucking really is something special.) The first to “buzz in” gets to attempt to provide a response in the form of a question. If they are correct, they tally their points and choose another category and answer, and so on. If all teams guess incorrectly, no one receives the points for the answer. When all categories and answers have been read, teams tally their points and we enter the FINAL JEOPARDY stage. Each team has a brief amount of time to discuss and write down their wager before the FINAL JEOPARDY answer is read. Once it is read in entirety, parents and leadership have the happy task of singing the Jeopardy theme song at the very tops of their lungs – because the kids can’t have all the fun! At the conclusion of the song, each team for their response and wager. They adjust their points accordingly.
What do they win, Alex? Well, bragging rights. Those are priceless in the world of an elementary aged kid.
JEOPARDY and Scouting
Did you know that Scouting has been featured on Jeopardy? Check out this awesome Scouting Magazine blog article (from way back in 2010) all about it.
Don’t Forget To Have Fun
Use this as an opportunity to have fun in your special role as den leader. Get into character, make all the sound effects, encourage the Scouts to be confident in their answers and supportive of their peers, have handshakes all around, and feel good about teaching them something new without through fun and games. Do Green Bar Bill proud!
Did you try making a Jeopardy game board or use any of my adventure category cards above? Did you use the adorable library pockets? Do you have Jeopardy answers and questions for other adventures? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments. Don’t forget to like this post and follow Look Wider Still!
Yours in Scouting,
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