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How to Play Crumple & Shoot


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This high-energy, low-tech game can be used in any subject area, with almost any age. Perfect for a review.

I learned how to play Crumple and Shoot from Doris Gannon, a reading teacher I worked with in my first job, and since then I’ve passed it on to more people than I can remember. It works with students from elementary school through college, and I’ve never had a group who didn’t eventually beg me to play it. Plus, it’s so easy, you could literally start playing it the minute you finish reading these instructions. The only real requirement is that your students need to be able to write easily, so it might not work as well with very young students.

Here’s a video overview of how the game works:

Download full instructions here: How to Play Crumple & Shoot.

Let me know how it goes. Have fun! ♥

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  1. LOVE THIS!!! I will definitely use “crumple and shoot”!!! Thank you so much!!! I play a shooting game called Blitz Ball, which if a team gets the answer correct they get to take a shot at my Blitz Ball board. It actually has five holes and I randomly give each hole points. I also like the idea of “crumpling and throwing”…the kids each write their own question on a piece of paper(or I can) it is crumpled and thrown. Everyone must pick up one of the papers and write their response to the question. Students can then expand or correct when they get the next question.
    I will be checking this website a lot !!! Thank you for creating a site where teachers can always learn new things and validate old things!!!

    • Sara Tilleman says:

      Thanks! This is GREAT because sometimes you don’t have time to prepare a Kahoots, etc. before class and here you can be spontaneous and it looks like it’s educational as well as fun.

  2. M Cristina Rodriguez-Villa says:

    I was searching for an activity like this one for my rambunctious 4th graders and found your recommendation. It was quite a success! I teach Spanish, so I named it “Piensa, anota y gana.” (Think, score (also “jot down”) and win) ¡Gracias!

  3. Kathy says:

    My husband happened to be watching the video with me and he made a couple of suggestions that I thought were brilliant, so I thought I would share them with you. He said that the students could write the answers on white boards and hang them up to save on paper, and then they could throw ping pong balls into the trashcans. He also suggested that if they answered the question correctly, they get one point, and if they also got a basket, that could be two points. Thanks for the ideas. I think my students would love both versions.

    • Hey Kathy’s husband: Those are both brilliant. Thank you!!

    • Storm Mathias says:

      I like the idea of 1 point for a correct answer and another 2 for the basket. We will be playing the game at our afterschool program starting this Friday.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Played with my sixth graders for science vocabulary review and they loved it! Easy set up and directions. Got everyone involved and talking. Thank you!

  5. Katie says:

    I like this idea, thanks. I’ve done something similar where I had a power point slide with a bullseye. If they hit the bullseye, 3 points, 2 for the next layer, 1 point for outer ring. This also allowed me to have all my questions prepared and placed in the ppt as well.

  6. Jolene Bullis says:

    Love the ping pong ball idea. Another idea for not wasting paper would be to shoot into a recycling bin.
    Question – do all groups shoot at once, or does each shooter take a turn?

    Love this blog!

    • Debbie Sachs says:

      Hi Jolene, this is Debbie, a Customer Experience Manager with CoP. If you haven’t already, take a look at the short video in How to Play Crumple and Shoot. It demonstrates how to play and set things up — each shooter does take a turn throwing their crumpled paper. However, you can always modify the game any way you’d like to make it work for you and your class, or to just switch things up every now and then. Keep in mind, if shooters throw all at once, have them stand around the basket in a circle, each behind their own line. This way of playing might also add the element of teams knocking each other out. In the end, you’ll want to consider if this is something you want to be part of the game. Whatever you decide — Have fun!

  7. Fran L. says:

    Shoot…into the RECYCLE bin, not the trash can.

    Good game..have fun!

  8. Jessica says:

    I love this idea. I’m curious though, I have two students with physical disabilities who would only be able to participate in answering, not shooting. Would you recommend me do this anyway in groups?

    • Absolutely! Just be sure they are in a group that has a student who can shoot. I have had groups of kids where they always designate the same person to shoot every time, because they happen to be awesome at it. Other kids are highly sought after because they know lots of answers. Let each student shine where they are able!

  9. Karen t says:

    Thanks for the game. It’s always great to have another trick up your sleeve for when the technology fails.

  10. Garry Stahl says:

    Great game, I used this for my first classes this second term. It was very spirited and broke the ice, and that was the target. Thank you, it made a difference and promoted a good start.

  11. Donna Bengle says:

    I teach 4th grade where the end of the year unit is a simulation Gold Rush game. There are ready made questions for the kids to be able to learn additional facts about the era and earn “gold” there is an ultimate winner of the game. This would be a wonderful addition! I think I will go with the ping-pong ball idea suggested be someone and paint it gold. Thanks!

  12. I used this 2 years ago (after seeing it on your site) with my small group of reading intervention students. We called it Trashketball. I used it with grades K-4 to review Sight Words. They absolutely loved it. We used scrap paper and recycled it when finished. I teach Technology (K-6) now and had kind of forgotten about this, but found it as I was looking around your site again. I think this might be a fun way to introduce some of my classes to the rules of my lab–especially my 5th graders, since they’re the first class of the day. It would get them moving in the morning. I use Kahoot a lot for introducing rules, but a low-tech, fun game like would be a great alternative because the kids wouldn’t expect it…and they’d have fun. 🙂

  13. Carrie says:

    ‪Do you have any suggestions for review games that require students to play as individuals, not as part of a team?‬

  14. I like to do this with THURSDAY spelling/vocab practice tests (where the whole class has the same list). I would only let them shoot if they got 100% and then I would draw ONE lucky winner out and they would GIVE the test on Friday.

  15. When I did substitute teaching (way, way back) I often did an activity like this at the end of the period. Students loved it and would ask their teachers to have me back as a sub!

    One time, a middle school class I’d subbed for several times tricked me and everyone tossed their paper crumples at ME instead of the basket just before the bell rang. We all had a good laugh and it just made my day!

  16. Michelle Bartlett says:

    I have been using this for years in my doctoral leadership class. They love it!!

  17. Stephanie Howell says:

    I play this same game with my 4th graders, but we call it Trashketball! The difference is that the students record their answers on an answer sheet (so I can collect and review their work afterward) and this is what they show me. If they get it right, they line up and shoot a piece of paper from our recycling bin (they keep the same ball the entire game- saves paper). They love it!

  18. Ramsha Qureshi says:

    Thank you for sharing this!!!

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