Toss Up! Learning Game

I am always on a mission to find fun ways to help my students learn. A coworker of mine was telling me about a game she was developing that sounded like a fun, interactive, engaging game to get kids interested in learning new content. I decided to modify and DIY her idea and came up with my new classroom game, Toss Up!

toss up!

Toss Up! is based off of the fishbowl games you see at the local fair where all of the fishbowls are lined up next to each other and you throw ping pong balls at the glasses with the aim of making one in to win a goldfish.

The best part about Toss Up! is that it works with any grade and any subject. I use this in my Culinary classes, but it can work with spelling, history, math, English, Foreign Language, or any other subject. Since the teacher makes the questions, it can work for every age and content area!

There are quite a few rules involved in Toss Up! If the teacher gives adequate time to explain the rules the first time it’s played, they will set the class up for success every time they play in the future.

Here are the rules:


  • Set game board in the center of the classroom with tables towards outer edges of the room.
  • Make four lines with colored tape on the ground four feet away from each side of the board.
  • Place a line of chairs behind the line, starting with the first chair’s feet on the colored tape with the others being place behind it in a straight line

Before Game Begins

  • Students will be split into four equal teams (per color)
  • Each team will be given a ping pong ball
  • Team members will rotate chairs after the first person takes their turn tossing their ping pong ball towards the game board.
  • Teacher should make up a list of review questions related to their content:

– 46 general review questions (numbered 1-46)
– 12 “Ladybug” review question spots (numbered L1-L12)  –  these
should be hard review questions
– 12 “stinger” spots (numbered S1-S12) – consequences/chance
opportunities (explained below)

How it Works

Each team will have a chance to toss one ping pong ball at the board.

  • Numbered cup = review question asked.
    • Correct answer = +10 pts for their team
    • Incorrect answer = No points added or taken away
  • Ladybug = bonus spot question; check number on ladybug.
    • Correct answer = award related to that number (hard questions on these spots make it more interesting!)
      • Examples: Piece of candy, more points awarded, extra freebie, extra hint, etc.
  • Bee/ “Stinger” = consequence/chance spot; check number on bee.
    • No question asked, consequence/chance related to that number given to team
      • Examples: lose all points, trade one player; lose 20 points; lose one life line; etc.

Each team will get three life lines to use. These life lines cannot be reused once gone.

  • Phone a friend – ask another player on their team (has to choose which team member)
  • Hint – player can ask the teacher a question related to the question
    • Cannot ask “What is the correct answer?” type questions.
  • Freebie – answer given to student, points still awarded –OR – avoid a “Stinger” consequence

Answering Questions

  • If the current team answers correctly, they get throw another ping pong ball, but must rotate players.
  • If the current team answered incorrectly, the answer is not given and a ball is tossed by the next team.
  • If current team lands on a “stinger,” the consequence is applied and the next team tosses.
  • If the player misses the board or ball sits on top of cups, team loses a turn and the play goes to the next team.

Teams continue play until time runs out. Team with the most points wins!

  • Ideas: bonus points on next test, candy, extra time on a project, etc.

To make yourself a board, you will need:

  • One sheet of thick poster board
  • 70 clear plastic 6 oz. cups
  • Hot glue gun
  • Colored paper
  • Ladybug & Bee stamp (or two other stamps to represent the “ladybugs” and “stingers”)

I strongly urge that you make yourself a board. My high schoolers LOVE this game and ask to play it constantly! It’s fun and challenging (since I make it harder to match their ability level) and they learn a bunch each time they play!


One thought on “Toss Up! Learning Game

  1. Pingback: Unconventional Teaching | The Wife Life

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