9th May, 2018

The Million Pound Lesson Plan: How Tutors Can Make Testing Fun Again

By Dom G

Written by Sean Hopkins

This week we have a guest post from Sean Hopkins, an inner city PE teacher who eats, sleeps and breathes education! Sean shares some awesome ideas, with his most recent being the Who Wants to be a Millionaire lesson plan below. If you're looking for help with your Physical Education, you can find loads of PE tutors here.


As a teacher, I’ve taught classes from as small as two students, up to well over 35 at their largest. In all cases, at some point, you need to do an assessment to check on the students learning. Whilst it’s important that we make an accurate assessment of students' progress, it’s also a great opportunity to make them feel that testing can be enjoyable and sometimes even fun (gasp). So, what better way to engage your pupils than by using concepts from the programmes that they may be watching on TV.

On Saturday night I sat down to watch the new version of “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” hosted by Jeremy Clarkson. The purpose of this blog article is not to review the programme, but rather how this concept can be used in lessons now that it is back in the public eye. One of the most memorable parts of the show was and continues to be the lifelines, which got me thinking about their use in the classroom.

So how can you incorporate the lifelines into an assessment? It’s actually pretty easy. Whether your class has every seat filled or you are a tutor working with a single student, this concept will work great. I’ll explain how below.


Groups of three or more students

As a teacher, or as a group tutor, set up your assessment as a traditional examination paper. At the top of each paper, either use the logos for the four life lines, “50/50”; “Ask the Audience”; “Phone a Friend” plus the new lifeline “Ask the Host” or write these as bullet points. Each person has the use of each lifeline only once, as is the case in the TV show. Each lifeline can be used as follows:

“50/50” – this lifeline can be used in two ways. Firstly in the same way as on the TV show, the student can raise their hand and ask the teacher to remove two possible options from a multiple choice question. The second way this can be used, for long answer questions, is to allow the student 50 seconds to look through their notes/exercise book to glean the answer, before having 50 seconds to write some notes on it. This can be done at the back of the class before the student returns to their place.


“Ask the audience” – this lifeline can be used exactly as it says on the tin. The student can raise their hand, the test can be stopped for 30 seconds and the student can ask the class or group for some help. They get to choose which people they ask. As this can have a slightly disruptive effect on the test, you can put one of the following two conditions in:

1) Once this life line has been used on a question it cannot be used again with the same question.

2) A set period of time determined by the teacher must elapse before another student can “ask the audience”


“Phone a friend” – this lifeline can be used in the following ways:

1) The student is allowed to use their lifeline to ask the person beside them for the answer

2) The student is allowed to stand up and go to one person to ask them for help on the answer.

3) Just like the quiz show, the students will only have 60 seconds to “phone their friend” before the call ends.


“Ask the host” – this is the new lifeline on the quiz show, the contestant is allowed to ask the host for help with the answer. In our version this will mean the student asking the teacher or tutor for help.

Although I focus on the use of this technique for testing, it can easily be adapted for group work. In this case, each team has the four life-lines on cards. These are to be used as a group, being removed after a single use during a co-operative piece of work.


Using this with one or two students

“50/50” – can be used in the same way as above or the teacher/tutor can provide some possible answers that it could be, some correct, some not.


“Ask the audience” – for this lifeline the use of social media can help. The student can place a status on Facebook; Tweet on Twitter or share a picture of the question on Snapchat or Instagram, asking for help from their friends. The person can move onto the next question and go back later to have a look at what their “audience” have had to say.


“Phone a friend” – exactly as it says, the students could phone a friend, whether this be a family member or another student. Remember they only have 60 seconds from when you say "go".


“Ask the host” – exactly the same as in the previous example, the student will ask the teacher/tutor for their opinion on the answer. The teacher can decided to give as much or as little information as they please.


There you have it. I hope that whether you teach a large group of pupils or you are working one-to-one with a student that you can make this concept work for you. For information on creating lessons plans and loads more, check out the Tutor Guide.


About the author - Sean is a Teacher of PE in an inner city school in the East Midlands, UK. Over the past year he has been developing a blog as part of his own CPD journey to become an “Outstanding” teacher. Sean regularly shares ideas such as this on his blog, “They Shot a Pigeon in Our Sports Hall”. You can find the blog here.

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