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Make Quiz Time a Fun Time


Teacher Lesson


  • This lesson activity can be adapted to many subject areas.


  • 3-5

Brief Description

This classroom quiz activity offers a fun way to check students' knowledge after they research a topic.

"Mercury, Venus, and Earth" are the subjects of the quiz used in this example, but the learning activity can be adapted to almost any topic in any curriculum area.


Students will

  • research a topic.
  • participate in a fun quiz activity to check what they learned.
  • compare and classify information.


Space, Mercury, Venus, Earth, research, quiz, fun, history, literature, science

Materials Needed

Note: Materials will vary depending on the topic being studied. In the sample lesson below, students are studying Mercury, Venus, and Earth, and the materials reflect that.

  • construction paper representations of Mercury, Venus, and Earth glued onto Popsicle sticks. (Each student has all three planets.) Younger students might be provided with illustrations of the planets to color ; older students might create the planets themselves.
  • a list of questions related to the planets (provided)
  • 24 sheets of computer paper (on which students will write comparisons)
  • pencils/pens
  • prizes (for example, stickers, pens, pencils)
  • library resources or Internet access (for the research part of the activity)

Lesson Plan

The purpose of this lesson is to have students research/learn information about the planets Mercury, Venus, and Earth. Provide books from the library and/or Internet sites that students can visit to learn about those three planets.

After researching and discussing facts about the planets, hold a class discussion in which students share the most fascinating information they learned about the planets.

Next, provide each student with illustrations of Mercury, Venus, and Earth. Students can color illustrations or use construction paper to create their own planets. They should glue each planet illustration to a Popsicle stick.

Now, you are ready to ask your prepared questions about the three planets.

As an alternative to creating the questions yourself, you might have students create questions as they do their research. Then use students' questions for the game.

Note: To play the game in other curriculum areas (science, history, or literature), choose three topics for the students to be quizzed on; the answers to all the questions must be one of those three topics. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. For example,

  • if students are studying literature, select three characters from that piece of literature.
  • if students are doing an author study, select three of the author's works.
  • if students are studying general literature, select three books, short stories, or poems.
  • if students are studying history, select three famous (or little-known) wars/battles.
  • if students are studying U.S. history, select three presidents, or three of America's important historical documents.

The Game

  • The game lasts approximately 5-10 minutes.
  • The object of the game is to answer all questions correctly.
  • Students start the game standing next to their desks.
  • One at a time, read a question to each student.
  • The student then holds up the planet Popsicle stick he or she thinks is the correct answer to the question. For example, if the question is Which planet has life on it? then the student holds up Earth.
  • If the student answers correctly, he or she remains standing. If the student answers incorrectly, he or she sits down, and the question is placed at the end of the question pile. Seated students lose one turn; and then rejoin the game.
  • At the end of the game, students who didn't miss a single question or who missed the fewest questions win a prize.

Questions for the Planet Research Game

  • Which planet is closest to the sun? (Mercury)
  • Which planet gets very hot during the day, and very cold at night? (Mercury)
  • Which planet takes an elliptical path around the sun? (Mercury)
  • Which is the eighth largest planet? (Mercury)
  • Which planet is rocky and made up mostly of iron? (Mercury or Venus)
  • Which planet has been visited only once by a spacecraft? (Mercury)
  • Which planet has Mariner 10 visited? (Mercury)
  • Which planet is the second densest major body in the solar system? (Mercury)
  • Which planet has no moons or rings? (Mercury)
  • Which planet is the second from the sun? (Venus)
  • Which planet takes a nearly circular path around the sun? (Venus)
  • Which planet rotates for East to West? (Venus)
  • Which planet in the solar system is the sixth largest? (Venus)
  • Which planet has numerous volcanoes on its surface? (Venus)
  • Which planet is called Earth's sister planet? (Venus)
  • Which planet has the youngest surface? (Venus)
  • Which planet's atmosphere is made of carbon dioxide gas? (Venus)
  • Which planet is the third planet form the sun? (Earth)
  • Which planet's orbit is a perfect circle? (Earth)
  • Which is the fifth largest planet in the solar system? (Earth)
  • Which planet only has one moon? (Earth)
  • Which is the only planet in the solar system to have solar eclipses? (Earth)
  • Which planet is the densest major body in the solar system? (Earth)
  • Which planet has three times more water than land? (Earth)

When the game is over, hand out to students a sheet of recycled computer paper and have them write five comparisons involving at least two of the planets they studied. The comparisons can emphasize similarities or differences.

Extension Activity
If students enjoyed this activity, you might do it again with the other planets.

Ask more difficult questions of your best readers/researchers.


Students' understanding of the concepts presented is assessed both informally and formally. Students are informally assessed by the teacher's interaction with the students and observation of the students as they participate in "The Planet Game." Students are formally assessed when they write the five comparisons of the planets' similarities or differences.

Submitted By

Submitted by Lisa Kwisnek, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania

Originally published 05/22/2003
Last updated 01/05/2009

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