Balloon Pop Review Game

I used this balloon pop review game to help engage my math concepts class in some much-needed equation solving review. I like this review game because it is low-prep and can be used with virtually any topic that you are looking to review!

balloon pop review game

My Math Concepts class is a class for 9th graders who have been identified as not being ready for Algebra 1. This class has been a struggle to teach this year.

The students who need to the most help are the ones same students who are least willing to ask for that help or allow me to help them.

balloon pop review game in math classroom.

One of the best days I have had with them recently is when we played the Balloon Pop game. The competitive nature of the game kept my students the most engaged I’ve seen them in quite a while.

Origin of Balloon Pop Review Game

I learned about the Balloon Pop Review Game when Elissa Miller mentioned it on her MissCalcul8 blog in 2011. Elissa mentions in her post that she learned about this review game at a Pippin’s Math Conference.

Supplies Needed

I wouldn’t call this a no-prep activity, but it definitely is a low-prep review game. Once you play the game with students once, you can keep the materials for a virtually no-prep activity going forward.

You will need a balloon template for each student/group of students with six balloons printed on it. To help us all out, Elissa has shared a free printable balloon pop template she created. It is a PowerPoint file that you will need to download to your own computer to access.

I slid each balloon pop template into a dry erase pocket so that students could easily write and erase on the template.


dry erase pockets

I cannot imagine teaching math without my dry erase pockets! They instantly make any activity more engaging and save me countless hours at the copy machine since I can use the same class sets of copies year after year.

Here are my current go-to recommendations:

If you don’t have a class set of dry erase pockets, you could also use sheet protectors to achieve the same purpose. They just won’t be as durable.

balloon pop review game papers in dry erase pockets.

How to Play Balloon Pop

Place students in groups. I have so few students in my Math Concepts class that I had students play as individuals. In a normal sized class, I would definitely play in groups.

Give students a problem to work. Since we were working on solving equations, I just wrote an equation on the dry erase board. You could also prepare a set of problems in Google Slides or PowerPoint.

Once all the groups have found an answer, work out the problem as a class.

If a team answered the question correctly, they are allowed to send one member to the front of the classroom to choose a balloon to “pop.” Balloons are popped by putting an X through them with a dry erase marker.

If a team has all six of their balloons popped, they may choose to unpop one of their balloons instead of popping another team’s balloon.

At the end of the review game (determined by the teacher or by finishing all of the problems), the team with the most unpopped balloon wins.

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