Attain & Share Knowledge of Course Content & Subject Matter Through Question & Answer Games

Parts & Pieces J-01.00 through J-01.03 = The Game of Knowledge: Agreeable Aging
Somewhere in our Courses of Study & Interest, we came upon the experience of teaching / learning just about any subject matter (sometimes Language but more often History, Business,  a [Social] Science, one of the Humanities or Arts, or Vocational Studies) through Questions & (suggested) Answers. Syllabus creators, administrators, or instructors would compile extensive Lists of hundreds of (usually Short-Answer or Essay) Items that would encompass the essential information and main ideas or concepts of their Course Content. Students (in groups) would then use these collections for review, reinforcement, and (active) acquisition of Knowledge & Abilities they needed to pass the course, even to thrive—and to make far-reaching, constructive use of the core or essence of its instruction.
From this experience arose the notion or approach of Games of Knowledge based on Curriculum.  Following are some of the steps we followed. They might work well for you, too—in gathering, creating, testing, polishing, and employing motivationally effective educational tools that function as “Knowledge Bases.”
Here are a few of the images that could come up when the idea of Knowledge Games is entered into a search engine:  
Because the Game of Knowledge: Agreeable Aging (Gerontology) is among our most innovative, rewarding products for “Knowledge-Based Learning,” our suggestions utilize its format and content as examples: 
  1. Define the Overall Course Content.
Which phrasing of Program & Course Titles & Curriculum best describes the necessary, relevant content you’re targeting? In our actual community-college experience, some of these labels were “Aging: an Introduction to Gerontology” and “Human Services.” Courses in “Gerontology Graduate Programs” at an affiliated university were named “Mechanisms of Aging,” “Health & Wellness in the Elderly,” “Cultural Aspects of Aging,” and the like. Such wording helped us clearly define the central content of one of our early “Games of Knowledge” as:   
“a vast field that deals with the study of biological, social, mental, and physical changes in older people and the application of this knowledge to frame policies and programs to assist the elderly, [relating to] areas such as physiology, social science, psychology, public health, and policy.”
So no matter which general subject(s) of study or research you’re addressing, language for your Game of Knowledge titles and labels can be found in Course Descriptions or synopses of Course Content. Eventually, we chose “Agreeable Aging” as our overall Game Title because of its comprehensiveness as well as its positive connotation.  
2. Divide Your General Subject Into Four (4) to Eight (8) “Sub-Topics,” Categories, or Classifications of Approximately Equivalent Importance, Scope, & Sequence.
We referred to Course Syllabi (material to be covered) for guidelines suggesting their Divisions of Content. Choosing six (6) as an optimal number for our purposes, we came up with these roughly comparable Categories, lettered A-F:
A. Definitions of Terms    B. Myth Vs. Fact    C. The Mind & Senses 
D. Illness & Disability    E. Aging in Society    F. Success in Aging
    Some of our targeted Category labels might even apply to other Subjects of Study or Interest. For instance, “A. Definition of Terms,” describes an introductory unit of many (social) scientific, liberal arts, or linguistically-based courses. And with the current overabundance of real (accurate, provable) vs. fabricated (untrue, misleading) “information” in the media / online, “B. Myth Vs. Fact” is especially relevant, even integral, to just about any area of inquiry. So are the data and concepts related to “E. Society” and “F. Success” as listed above. In any case, what’s important is that each Classification of Subject Matter you create is equivalent in importance, substance, size, and organization as your (three, four, five, six, or seven) other Categories.
    3. For Each Area to Be Addressed, Indicate its Elemental, Apropo Content in One or a Few Statements for Each “Learning-Point Set.”
    The necessary Subject Matter of the Game of Knowledge: Agreeable Aging (Gerontology),” for instance, could be stated in about 54 generalized facts (pieces of information) per Category, for a total of 324 “Chunks of Data.”  The statements should all be (largely) true, could be formulated in a variety of ways, and will lend themselves to expansion with both additional details and related questions. 
    To serve as templates, in the following Question Grid are examples of possible Statements 1, 2, 3 of Categories A-F  (with a red line indicating Items 4-53).
    1. Convert The Statements In Your Statement-Grid or Lists into the Same Number of “Quiz Items”—(Probably Short-Answer or Essay) Questions To Answer (Concisely / Precisely) or to Elicit Further Consideration. 
    But in compiling course materials, why create Wh(Informational) Questions first?  Perhaps for versatility: as stated, they could be Test,  Activity, or Game Queries—and/or they can precede possible responses in Multiple-Choice Items. 
    Also, Questions with Wh-Words (Who / What / Where / When / Why / How) are easily transformed into “Fill-in-the-Blanks,” which some learners might find easier to understand and complete than “Short Answer” or “Essay” Questions
    The following grid displays 18 of these conversions—with samples of the kinds of correct Answers + “detractors” (incorrect alternatives) that might follow.  As you create these, keep in mind that (even amusingly) wrong choices can promote learning through discussion of their vocabulary, meaning, and absurdity. As usual, keep in mind that the phrasing of Items can not only help participants come up with correct responses but can also contribute to the teaching / learning value of the Questions & Answers. 
    1. (You Might Choose to) Create One or Two More Versions of These Quiz Items—[1] (Perhaps) True/False Statements or Yes/No Questions, and/or [2] (Probably) Wh- Questions (with Multiple Answers to Choose From) or Sentences with Blanks to Fill-In.  
    After following Steps 1-4, you’re sure to have enough (but not too much) material to teach / learn and play with the important content of a Course to conduct with Questions & Answers. Presented orally in List, Grid, and/or printed Card form, your Items will prove effective in whole-class interaction, in Summarizing or Review Sessions, and/or for Groupwork or even Homework.
    Even so, if you intend to create elaborately-designed Informational Bases for Games of Knowledge, you might wish to add yet another Step: providing three versions of Questions & Answers for each Chunk of Information considered a “Learning-Point Set.” Typically, these are:
    1. “Level One” Yes / No Questions or True / False Statements that can be answered in only one of two ways, giving respondents a 50% chance of guessing correctly. (These can be made challenging or instructional at more advanced Levels by requiring learners to tell the reasoning behind their answers and/or to correct the False Statements with wording that would make them True.)
    2. “Level Two” Wh-Questions or Fill-Ins for which a multiple of three possibilities to choose from are given. Respondents with no idea of the correct answer would still be able to venture a correct guess 33% of the time. (Again, these can help further logical thinking if learners reveal & share the reasoning behind their answers.)
    3. “Level Three” Wh-Questions or Fill-Ins, probably the same as or similar to corresponding Level Two Items, for which participants need to give (Word, Phrase, or Sentence) Answers with their own phrasing. These are the most challenging kinds of Items because students / players have to either know the right answers or be able to make a coherent “educated guess.”
    There are several advantages to presenting and testing acquisition of salient information in three leveled forms. [1] The kinds of knowledge or reasoning ability required may vary somewhat for the Question varieties, so participants will get practice in several types of thinking. [2] Especially in paraphrase form, repetition of vocabulary plus rephrasing of facts or data will aid memory, reinforcing the acquisition of Knowledge and comprehension of Subject Matter.  [3] Answering different Questions about the same Content in various ways will help imbed the use of productive Learning Strategies. 
    The Game of Knowledge: Agreeable Aging makes maximum use of these three Question & Answer assortments by showing them printed on the faces of Cards categorized A-F.  In the sample images that follow, each of the three types appears on three separate Cards from its Category, along with the other varieties of two more Items. (This arrangement keeps players from reading correct answers to Level 3 [Short-Answer / Essay] Items.) Correct or acceptable Responses are on the Card Backs, sometimes with Notes.    
     6. Put Your Collections of Items to Work in Classroom-Lesson Instruction and/or into Play with Games of Knowledge.
    If you’ve followed most or all of the above Steps 1-5, you’re now ready to make use of, apply, and get maximum benefit out of your Collections of Content for Course(s) or Unit(s) you are teaching / taking—or in your (personal) Area(s) of Interest. Presumably, these “cover” just about all of the material that (you or your) learners are expected or would like to take in and work or play with. 
    Your Questions (& Answers) might be printed in Lists, on Grids, or on the Faces (& Backs) or equally-sized Cards. Perhaps all of your “Chunks of Content” have the same format (Yes / No Questions or True / False Statements; Multiple Choices of Answers to Info Questions or of Wordings that fit into Blanks; or Questions eliciting Short or Essay Answers). Alternatively, maybe your Item Formats are mixedor you have two or more separate sets of kinds of Items addressing the same or equivalent Learning-Points. Whatever your decisions on Question & Answer Design, your “Item Pieces” can be used as is for direct instruction in, groupwork on, and review / reinforcement of Course Content / Subject Matter.  
    Analytical articles on the topic of “Using Question & Answer Methodologies in Presenting, Reinforcing, & Acquiring Content,” claim that:
    “Questioning is one of the most extensively researched areas of teaching and learning. This is because of its central importance in the teaching and learning process. The research falls into three broad categories: What is effective questioning? How do questions engage students and promote responses? How do questions develop students’ cognitive abilities?”                        
    Other headings from this article (Questioning Strategies) include “Questioning Techniques,” “Why Question?” & “Possible Pitfalls of Questioning.” Other articles—such as “Ch. 9 Questioning – Instructional Methods, Strategies and Technologies to Meet the Needs of All Learners,” tend to discuss topics like “(Steps for) Planning Questions,” “Levels & Types of Questions,” “(Strategies for) Handling Student Responses (Reinforcement / Probing /  Adjust / Refocus)” “Strategies to Use When Students Don’t Respond (Redirect / Rephrasing”).  Apparently, advice in using Questions & Answers directly in and for (teacher-centered / lecture-based) classroom instruction is readily available online and from resources.
    But what if you’re a strong believer in learner-centered, participatory, active, immersive, Task-Based Education in Subject Matter or Content? Then probably, you’d prefer to use the Questions & Answers you’ve compiled in Activities & Games.  When these are well-designed, they’re sure to cover Course Content or Areas of Personal Interest in ways that motivate or even inspire—as they build significant, relevant Knowledge & Skills
    As you probably expect from the sub-title of this blog post and its many mentions of Subject Matter, we at Work/Life English prefer to meet the above objectives in what we call The Game of KnowledgeWhat follows a colon (:) after this moniker is a title completion that designates overall Course Content.  As the primary example in this article, it’s the phrase Agreeable Aging, which relates to Courses in Gerontology, Geriatrics, Mechanisms of Aging, Disabilities, Health & Wellness, Human Services, and related Areas. 
    As our Product J-01.00 The Game of Knowledge: Agreeable Aging evolved, it resulted in five (5) possible Parts & Pieces (smaller amounts of material) that can be purchased, downloaded, (printed out), and utilized in an expansive variety of whole-class, small-group, and/or individual Activities & Games.  
    J-01.01 is a forty-page Resource titled The Game of Knowledge: Agreeable Aging: Creative, Motivating Ways to Teach & Learn the Science & Art of Aging.  Sections listed in its Table of Contents include: 
    • Why Communicate Knowledge Through Games? 
    • What Are the Unique Educational Features of a Game of Knowledge?
    • How Might a Game of Knowledge Be Played? (suggested procedures, rules, adaptations)
    • Game Board One: Move from Start to Finish on a Path
    • Game Board Two: Cover All the Symbols  (by answering 18 Questions correctly)
    • Game Board Three: Score Card  (Fill in the boxes with symbols or numbers.)
    • Interview Questions, the Game of Wisdom (with One-Liners)
    • But What Do You Think? Discussion Topics
    • Lighten Up: Adding Humor (to instruction, activities, and Games of Knowledge)
    The Resource can function as an adaptable Introduction to the rationale behind, the steps to take to create and use, and supplementary activities related to Games of Knowledge  on just about any teachable / learnable Subject Matter. To obtain it, you can click on its underlined title above or its sample page images below:  
    J-01.02a & b consist of 9 x 2 two-sided pages for 54-Question-Card Decks A & B: Definitions of Terms + Myth Vs. Fact. For each of its two Categories of Subject Matter, six (6) Tri-Question Cards appear on nine pages, numbered 1-6, 7-12, 13-18, 19-24, 25-30, 31-36, 37-42, 43-48, and 49-54. On each even-numbered page (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18) in between these Question sheets are corresponding Card Backs displaying the Name of the Game of Knowledge (Agreeable Aging), the sub-topic Category (Definition of Terms; Myth Vs. Fact), and the Answers to the Questions that will appear on the reverse side when the 18 pages are printed out back-to-back.
    The nine two-sided pages of material can be used in a variety of ways for classroom instruction and/or for groupwork. They become even more interesting and versatile, however, when they are reproduced on (stiff) paper or card stock and divided into six pieces with three straight cuts. The resulting two Decks of 54 Question & Answer Cards each will form a Knowledge Base for use in a myriad of creative, engaging, competitive / cooperative, (self) teaching / learning pursuits and/or game play.
    J-01.02c & d contain 9 x 2 two-sided pages for 54-Question-Card Decks C & D: The Mind & Senses + Illness + Illness & Disability. Explanation of this Download corresponds to that for J-01.02a & b above; the main difference is the two Subject-Matter Categories that are covered. The same parallels apply to the last offering of ready-to-use Question & Answer Cards for the Game of Knowledge: Agreeable Aging. as before, there are 9 x 2 two-sided pages for J-01.02e & f: 54-Question Card Decks E & F: Aging in Society + Success in Aging.
    Finally, the Game of Knowledge: Agreeable Aging package includes a 68-page Book numbered & titled J-01.03: Reproducible Quiz Handouts on Six Topics of the Science & Art of Aging. It contains advice on “Teaching & Learning with Quiz Sheets, six two-sided True / False Quizzes of 54 Items each; six 6-page Multiple-Choice Quizzes on the same Topics A-F; and Answers Keys (with instructional notes) for the items in all 12 collections of Questions. Again, these materials may be used as is for instruction and/or game play in the overriding Subject Matter (Agreeable Aging) and/or can be used as templates, models, or examples to adapt to the teaching / learning of other Course Content.
    And so there you have it—an extensive discussion of the advantages and benefits of (Self) Teaching / Learning just about any Course Content or Subject Matter of Interest through Lists, Grids, Cards, and/or other Formats of Questions & Answers.
    Here’s hoping that the concept will prove as interesting, engaging, and productive for you as it has for us—and that it will continue to grow and improve in effectiveness in the world of education for Knowledge & Practical Ability.
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    About Work/Life English
    For over 35 years, Work/Life English has been dedicated to improving the lives of English language learners. We offer a comprehensive range of fun, effective English language improvement lessons and activities to help adult education ESL educators successfully engage their English language students and improve their English competencies, leading to a host of positive effects in students’ professional and personal lives. Better English, Better Life. For more information, visit

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