I am getting lots of fun emails from you teachers who are just starting seminary! I can just feel your anticipation, excitement and nervousness. I wanted to throw out some really fun scripture mastery card activities so you can pick and choose from these as you introduce scripture mastery.
One thing I love about scripture mastery is that it is so multi-layered with purposes.
Not only do they teach such important doctrines and principles, but they help give the youth confidence in the scriptures as they become more and more familiar with the scripture mastery scriptures. In fact, I always loved fall General Conference because the youth knew the key phrases by then and they always came back so excited about the scriptures that they heard and recognized!
Scripture Mastery also provides a lot of opportunity for the class to have fun together which influences the atmosphere in the classroom. So, I was always finding and creating new activities to keep things hoppin’ in the scripture mastery arena.
Below are some of my favorite activities we did with my scripture mastery cards. I have already mentioned some of these in the post “How I Taught Scripture Mastery” – but I have a few more to add and it is nice to have it all in one place. (Plus I am adding a PDF at the end so you can just print it off).
By the way, I am FOR SURE going to play these games with my own family as soon as Hannah is old enough. These are great family activities too!
Also – I think it is important to note the use of competition in the classroom.
These games can be super fun, but frankly, some kids are super competitive and can miss the whole point of these activities. I think this can be easily solved just by discussing WHY we do these activities and what the feeling in this class should be.
You could ask the following questions:
- How can activities like this that are competitive be good and effective?
- How can these activities be destructive?
- If you feel love and charity towards your classmates, how should you feel when they are faster than you because they have put forth the effort to learn these things?
- If you feel love and charity towards your classmates, how should you feel when you win?
- If everyone plays with love and charity, how can these activities impact the environment in this class, as well as how much you learn?
As a teacher it is good to keep an eye out for times to realign them when they are losing site of the meaning of the activities and say something like, “aren’t you just as happy for Mike as you would have been if you would have won? Isn’t charity amazing?” You will be saying things like this with a wink – wink, but they will get the point. And the cool thing about this is that they can take these attitudes into the rest of their lives, games, sports and experiences.
Introducing the Key Phrases and Scripture Mastery Cards:
- You can see in my post: How I taught Scripture Mastery, that I only focused on key phrases the first quarter – and we did not start memorizing anything until 2nd semester. That format came through a lot of trial and error as I tried all sorts of approaches towards scripture mastery– but it was by far my most successful way of incorporating scripture mastery into the students hearts.
- I would HIGHLY recommend identifying each set of scripture mastery cards so that they are distinguishable from the other sets. So one set may be an “A” set with the letter “A” written in the top right corner of each card (on the reference side), then a “B” set and so on. I would also number each card – so the A set would have “A1”, “A2” all the way to “A25”. The letters will help you return a missing card to its correct pile and the number will give you the ability to play with small sets of cards – like is suggested in “5 at a time” below. (If you have already laminated your cards I would just go get some small label stickers – I would also have the students help you do this labeling so you aren’t doing hundreds of cards).
5 at a Time:
Many of these games below can be played with less than all 25 scripture mastery cards. So, as the kids were getting used to these scripture mastery scriptures – I would introduce all 25 over a 2 week period by doing an activity with the first 5 cards and then adding 5 more each time. So, the first day I would give them the first cards and they would look at them and then look up the scripture so they could associate the key phrase, the picture and the scripture together, and then we would do one of the following activities. Then the second day I would review those 5, and if there was time add in another 5 repeating the same process. And so on until they were getting pretty comfortable with all 25.
Towards the beginning of the year I would take each scripture mastery and write each one on a note card. I would then divide the class into several groups and give each group a few of the cards. Their job was to take those references and come up with a little clue to help everyone remember the reference with the key phrase. So for example I remember last year for Genesis 39:9 the clue was At the very beginning (because Genesis means beginnings) Joseph told Potiphar’s 39 year old wife NEIN (which is no in German) because he didn’t want to do that great wickedness! So you can see it contains the reference AND the scripture’s general message. It is ok if it is silly – sometimes the sillier it is, the better they remember it. One reason this is a really good activity is that they have to sit and study the scripture mastery scriptures you have given them in order to come up with a good clue. Also, they will use these clues for all of the below activities. I posted a list of clues I came up with for the Doctrine and Covenants here for an example of what they could look like.
Scripture Mastery Card Activities
1- Beat Your Neighbor:
I would pair up the students into twos and have them push their desks up next to each other. Then they would take one set of scripture mastery cards and lay them all out on the desk (reference up or phrase up), and then you (the teacher) would call out a reference (if it the phrases is up) or a phrase (if the reference is up). The first out of the pair to grab it makes their victory pile and then they count up their cards at the end.
2- Beat the Teacher:
This is similar to above except that they are not in pairs, and each student has their own set laid out on their desks. But instead of YOU calling out the phrase or reference, the STUDENTS do. So you go up and down the rows and each student takes a turn calling it out. The goal of the student is to BEAT THE TEACHER. So you are playing along with them and if they get grab their card before you do and call out “Got it!” then they get to add it to their victory pile. This is a good game because you can just play it for 5 minutes or so and when the time is up then the student with the most points win.
3- Beat the Class:
Again this is similar to above except they are playing against the entire class. So you put all of the desks in two long rows. The rows should be facing each other and pushed up against one another. So if I were sitting in a desk, there is another student across from me who is facing me, but there is also students to my left and right. The students play the person directly across from them. They lay out a set of cards (you can do all 25 or you could do the first 10 if it is earlier in the year), and you call out a phrase or reference. The first one to grab it makes their victory pile. After an undesignated amount of cards called out (you can do 1 or 10 – each round can be different), you say “end of round!” and they count them up. The one who wins then moves up 1 seat, and the one who loses moves down 1 seat – so everyone is changing seats and moving up or down the row – except for the very front person! The goal is to get to the front row and to stay there!
4- Put in Order:
This is a key phrase activity – so the references need to be down. Have the kids shuffle the cards up and put them in a stack, making certain that each card is “key phrase” facing up. Have them pass their stack to a neighbor to help encourage thorough shuffling. The challenge is to lay out all of the cards in chronological order of how they are found in the scriptures. So basically they need to recognize the key phrase and know the references in order to do this.
This can be done with various difficulty levels according to how many cards you are playing with. All 25 would be the most difficult level.
You can also play so that the first one done wins, or you can give them 45 seconds and see who had the most placed correctly.
5- Put in Order – Group Style
This is the same as the game above, except you can use pairs or teams.
So with this one you pair everyone up or put them in groups of 3 (I think 3 is ideal). Have one student in the desk and the others standing with their back to them so they can’t see what they are doing. Every 15 seconds you call “switch” and the student jumps out and another one jumps in (and the one who just jumped out puts their back to the desk).
The first team done wins. I would do a few rounds giving them 60 seconds to study in between each round.
6- Put in Order – Class Style
This is just like the game above, except that the entire class is working towards a common goal. As a teacher (or a class) decide a goal time, like 90 seconds – so this is the amount of time you will time them to place all of the cards in chronological order.
Each student will have their own set of shuffled cards, and when you start timing they will start placing them in order. When someone has finished placing all of their cards they can then jump up and help someone else. When everyone is done – stop the timer and write that time on the board. Give them 60 seconds to study and then play again, writing that time on the board – repeating the process until you reach your goal time.
7- Up the Row:
In this game their row is their team. You give each row one set of cards and they divide them up evenly among their row (so each person may have 5 or so cards). Each person then takes their cards and puts them phrase or reference up. Then you call out a phrase or reference (whichever is not showing). The person on the row that has it then grabs their card and passes it to the front person who will then show it to you. The first row to show it then gets the point. There will be times when the card is already on the front row and other when it is on the back – that is the fun of it – and each row will be different. Also – after every few rounds have the kids switch cards around so they have to become familiar with more cards than just their original five.
8- On the Forehead:
This is a game you can play after the kids are pretty familiar with the key phrases and references. Put them in groups of three or four, with each kid with their own set of cards. On the count of 3, they all take a card off of the bottom of the pile and hold it up on their forehead (without looking at it). They then go around the circle asking ONE yes or no question at a time. Like “is my scripture about repentance”? or “does my scripture have a “7″ in it?” – the kids in their circle answer their question and they then get 1 guess of what is on their forehead. If they get it, then they make their victory pile. If they don’t, then the next student gets to ask their question. Once someone gets their scripture right, then everyone takes theirs off their foreheads and puts them back in their piles and then starts a new round. * This is a good game because the more familiar you are with the scriptures then the easier it is. Also, in order to be able to answer the “yes” or “no” you have to know something about the scripture on the other person’s forehead.
I always loved playing this one. In this game, their row is their team. You start by giving everyone a 1/2 sheet of paper and have them fold it in half and write their names on the front. Then you have them open it up and number 1-20 or however many rounds you want to play. Now give each row a colored piece of paper where they can keep track of their score. This paper should be given to the person on the front row, and then after each round that paper is passed back one person. Whoever has the paper is “it” and everyone else is going to try and have “ESP” with that person – or in other words they are going to try and come up with the same answer as them. To play the game you (the teacher) gives the students a scenario like: ”What scripture mastery would you use if you were giving a talk on repentance?” and then everyone has 30 seconds (and it must be silent) to write down their answer and then you say “pass”, and they pass their cards to the person with the score card. The person who is “it” is right no matter what so they get an automatic point and then they get additional points for every match on their team. Sometimes everyone will match them, and sometimes everyone on the team will have the same answer except for the person who is “it” – that is the fun of it. The thing I like about this game is that they have to really think about the scriptures and then explain their answers to their team when they wrote something different. Some other scenarios are: What scripture would you use with hymn #____, what scripture would you share with your friend who is nervous for their big AP test, what scripture would you put in a letter to a missionary, what scripture would help you if you were going through a really hard trial, what is a good scripture to help motivate you to share the Gospel with your friends,what scripture would you share with your family right before General Conference, etc….
10- Slap the Desk:
In this game their row is their team again. You will call out a phrase from a scripture mastery and everyone has to hold up the right scripture mastery card. Once the person on the very front of the row has it then they reach back and slap the desk behind them which sets off a chain reaction where the second person then slaps the desk behind them and so on until the last desk is slapped and they then raise their hand. So everyone quickly finds the card, but they have to wait until their desk is slapped before they can slap the desk behind them. After each round have everyone move up a desk so that the same person doesn’t have the stressful first desk position. Also, I always let them help each other so that those who don’t know the scripture doesn’t feel left out.
11- Scavenger Hunt
This game is a RIOT and once you play it they will beg for it again. To play this game you have to have marked scripture mastery cards – so each set needs to be distinguishable from another set. So one set may be an “A” set with the letter “A” written by each reference, then a “B” set and so on.
Tape a square in the middle of the room and then put the kids into teams of 4 or 5. Have the kids sit in their teams around the square (you may want to tape a line about 4 feet back from the square that they have to sit behind).
You will be keeping score each round and it is possible to earn 2 points each round.
Have the kids lay out one set of scripture mastery cards per group. You can decide if it is reference down or key phrase down. Then you will call out a clue and they have to grab the correct card – so if they have their cards reference down and can see the key phrases – you will call out a reference and they have to know which key phrase has that reference.
After you call out the clue, count to 3 and then call out an item like “a library card”. They then have to rummage through their belongings until a person in the group finds a library card and then they have to deliver the correct scripture mastery card AND the library card into the center square. First one there gets 2 points.
You can also do 30 second rounds where they can earn multiple points – so you may call out “pennies” and each team has 30 seconds to deliver their scripture mastery card with as many pennies as they can find and each group can earn as many points as makes it into the square within 30 seconds.
This game can get wild so you will need to be strict and have consequences on the board like “yelling = – 5 points”, “jumping over someone = -20 points”… but I found that if you set these expectations they honor them, but if you don’t they will go wild.
Some scavenger items could be: a shoelace (not on a shoe), a white sock (not on a foot), a movie ticket, a gum wrapper, food, a family picture, a comb, a student ID card, any form of currency, chapstick, makeup, an electronic charger, a highlighter, a sharpie, a mechanical pencil, a textbook, the word “shall” in the scriptures, a specific hymn, their mom (so they have to call her on the phone an put her in the square), a homework assignment, a receipt, a watch, a hair elastic, a logo, keys, a business card, something fuzzy, something glittery, etc.
This is a good activity when the students are not very familiar with the key phrases and references yet.
Put the students in pairs and give each pair 2 sets of cards. Have them lay out the cards reference up and in chronological order. Have them take the other pile of cards and shuffle them up and lay them in a pile with the key phrase up.
When you say “go” have each pair “match” the key phrases to the correct reference by laying them on top of each other – but don’t let them ever turn either card over. After everyone has their cards placed have them check by comparing each set they put together. You could reward the pair with the most correct matches.
You could make this harder by giving them a set amount of time or having them race each other.
You could also do something similar to activity #6 and have the class do this activity “class style”.