Astro Bingo

Bingo’s beginnings lead back to the 16th century Italian lottery, but did you know that before the game took its modern form it was used as an educational tool? That’s right, European countries like Germany were using a bingo like game to teach their children the times tables, spelling and even history. Seems strange, right, teaching history with a game like bingo. Wondering how exactly it worked? Well, even with all our computers and internet bingo, the simple old game is still being used as a teaching tool.

Astro Bingo is just one of the many ways to use the popular game to entertain children while teaching. Astro Bingo, not to be confused with one of the many online gaming websites, can be found on the Internet, but not to be played for money. Mrs. Tracey Trimpe, who runs a webpage called the Science Spot, has Astro Bingo setup as a downloadable pdf that can be printed and played in any science classroom.

The idea behind Astro Bingo is very much like a mix of bingo and backwards Jeopardy. Each square on the bingo board is filled in with a space term. Your B column can be filled with words from Asteroid to Mercury all the way to Zodiac. The B-I-N-G-O columns don’t really come into play.

In the case of Astro Bingo the caller, or the teacher, doesn’t call out a letter column and a number, but instead asks a question. Example: The students place their terms on their bingo cards. The caller/teacher asks the first question: “Objects made of rocks and metals that can be found in a “belt” between Mars and Jupiter.” The student then has to find ‘Asteroid’ on his bingo card and daub it. The winner, of course, will have a row of five correct answers.

Using games to teach has been a proven method, since 19th century Germany when the first rudimentary bingo game was implemented to centuries before. Trimpe is continuing this educational tactic with Astro Bingo. You can download your very own Astro Bingo board at sciencespot.net, which provided the example given above.