Classroom Jeopardy Game


Mister L

This is one of my better efforts. It’s a great for reviewing or as an activity on those “high energy” days like the day before Christmas break. I’ve used it for different grade levels and subjects, including adult computer classes at a community college where I taught for several years.

The design is actually pretty simple. It’s an Excel spread sheet with hyperlinks imbedded in the cells. Each cell is simply a circle of three hyperlinks-the board, the question and the answer then back to the board. Throw in a blue background, change the hyperlink color to yellow, get rid of the grid lines, add the Jeopardy jingle and voila! Genius!

Mea Culpa: This was my first major HTML coding project years ago. I did it in MS Front Page.  The code is ugly. Today, I could do it in half the time and a whole lot fewer lines of code. Back then, it was trial and error and work arounds. But it works. If you’d like to try it right now, click here


To use it, download the Jeopardy Game Zip file by right clicking on the link to the left. Select “Save As” or “Save Target As” or “Save Link As”(depending on your browser).You’ll get a download box asking where you want the file to go. The default is your downloads folder, but you can send it anywhere.   IMPORTANT:You need to extract the contents after downloading. The game won’t work while it’s zipped up.

To do that, simply right click on the downloaded zip file icon and select “Extract”.  Once that’s done, click on the DEFAULT.HTM. It will open in the default browser. The Jeopardy jingle will play automatically one time. If you click on a number, the sound stops so you don’t have to wait on it. The sound works best if you have Apple Quicktime installed on the machine.

Once you download the folder, I’d recommend copying it as a backup, maybe a couple of times. A basic rule of programming is never modify original software. You always need to be able to get back to where you were and the easiest way is to have several working copies. Of course, you can always come back here and get another one.

Click on a number. An answer will appear. After the students respond, click on the answer or the accompanying picture and the question will appear. Click on the question or the picture and you’re right back at the board.

To make changes, copy the entire folder. You always want to keep everything together. You’ll see subfolders labeled as Column 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Inside the folders are web pages which are simple HTM (web) files. There’s one for each question and one for each answer. Open each one up in a web/text editor and change the content. Do not change the names of the files. I’ve made the file structure generic so that it never changes – just the content. That’s critical because hyperlinks are pointed to very specific files names in very specific locations. If you change anything in the structure, the hyperlinks will break and the game won’t work.

Here’s an important pointer from my student teacher.

Mister L

File and folder names are case sensitive. So where it says DEFAULT.HTM, that’s how it’s typed. If you’re clicking on links or using drag and drop, you probably don’t have to worry about it. But if you’ve got the guts to go into the code – and you’ll have to if you want to change topics or content – don’t screw it up. Make copies just in case you do. And another thing, don’t come crying to us if the Jeopardy jingle doesn’t play. It all depends on what media player you’re using. Got all that?

To change to column headings on the game board, open DEFAULT.HTM in a web/text editor and change them. You may have to play around with font size and position, but it’s just like working in Microsoft Office at that point.

On my board, the used category numbers become red instead of disappearing. If you want to make them disappear, go into the properties for the DEFAULT.HTM file and change the color of used hyperlinks to the same color as the board. To get all hyperlinks back to yellow, go to your browser and clear the browsing history. They’ll pop right back.

You don’t need to modify anything else. All the .gif and .jpg files are the images imbedded on the board in the Q and A screens.

This is how I taught myself web editing and HTML code. If I make changes now, I go straight into the code itself. If you’re interested in learning that stuff, this is a great project to do it with. Just make sure you always have a clean original to fall back on. Make working copies of the entire folder and have at it.

I’ve developed more boards than I can remember, not just in math but also computers, geography and history. It can be a bit time consuming at first to come up with five categories and 25 questions arranged so that the harder ones are behind the bigger numbers.

I occasionally had students do it as a project, sometimes for extra credit. Assign them a category and get five or 10 good Q&A combos. I’ve had advanced students develop entire boards using this as a model.

When we started a new unit, I would choose categories and start the new board, adding QandA as I went. It actually goes pretty fast once you get a system down.

The biggest challenge is how to play the game, since obviously, you have more than three players. I tried teams, choral response but didn’t like it. I finally settled on raising hands and calling on students, limiting them to two questions each. Some would answer every one if they could. Others don’t want to answer at all. You’ll have to plan accordingly. It’s still fun for everyone.

This is a GREAT activity for Parent Night or Grandparent’s Day. It’s fun, interactive and gives a good overview of the material you’ll be covering. It blows them away.

I hope you have as much fun and success with this as I did.

Enjoy…Mister L

Munzee – Geocaching with QR Codes

The evolution of the geolocation stashing game continues as technology advances. First, there was letterboxing. Created in Scotland in the 1850’s, it involved hiding a box somewhere then providing written clues on how/where to find it. It was 150 years before the next generation appeared – geocaching in 2000 – enabled by the Internet and GPS. Both of these activities involved finding a container and signing something in it. Now even that simple task has been rendered obsolete by techology.

Say “hello” to Munzee. It’s the latest entry into the geo-game realm.

In letterboxing, you need a compass. In geocaching, you need a GPS device. In Munzee, you need a smart phone with the Munzee app.

A Munzee

This is a Munzee. It’s a registered QR code on a sticker, a magnet or a tag. When you find it, you scan the code with your smart phone Munzee app, digitally signing and recording the find. How cool is that? You can make your own Munzees to put out there through the web site or you can buy them from Munzee, all ready to go. We ordered 50 stickers. It cost $17.50. No sign or guardrail is safe now.

The word Munzee comes from the German word “mûnze” (moon’-za) which means coin. Originally conceived using coins for game pieces, it evolved away from that but the name stuck.

Munzee has only been around since 2011. It’s the brain child of a group of hobby geeks in Dallas, TX. They originally thought of the idea in 2008 but QR technology wasn’t ready for prime time yet. Now apparently, it is.

Munzee on a sign

Munzee sticker on the back of a sign. You’ll also find them hanging from things or as magnets on metal. Whatever form it takes, the QR code will always look like this.

In many respects, Munzee is like geocaching (although none of the developers had ever geocached before). It uses GPS to place and track down the munzees. The entire gaming environment is run by a central web entity – munzee (dot) com. It does, however, have its own language. Munzees aren’t hidden – they’re deployed. Munzees aren’t found – they’re captured. People who play the game are called munzers. People who don’t hunt munzees are muggles. Munzers find deployed pieces on the Munzee web site, then track them down with the Munzee app on their smart phone. The capture is done through the app, which opens the QR reader for you.

Munzee capture

Natasha captures a munzee.

Although the parallels are obvious, so are the differences. Munzees can be hidden anywhere. A word of advice – Be careful and selective about your munzee hunting locations. People have deployed munzees helter skelter everywhere including very public locations and private property. The world being what it is today, people get understandably nervous when they see someone snooping around with a cell phone and taking pictures. It can be very suspicious looking. We had an encounter several years back with the manager of a Cousins sub shop who wanted to know what the f— we were doing in “his” parking lot. If you stick to parks, ball fields and outlying areas, you’ll be fine. Rest areas on the interstate highways are hotbeds of munzees. We haven’t been to one yet that didn’t have some. It’s a great way to stretch your legs.

Also be aware that munzees have a high casualty rate. They get scraped off, painted over, bleached out by the sun and various other fates. If you go for one and it’s not there, don’t take it personally. There’s lots more where that came from.

Munzee in a geocache

Some geocaches have munzees in them – a twofer.

The entire Munzee environment was designed with an eye towards competition and rewards. Munzers rack up points. Families, teams and corporations have had Munzee competitions. Businesses have seized on Munzees as a way to market themselves. Unlike a geocache, a Munzee can easily be put inside a business, which will bring munzers inside. Restaurants put them on menus. Boutiques put them on shelves. Some businesses offer discounts or deals for getting Munzee points at their establishment. Munzee has opened up a whole new world of possibilities previously unheard of in geo-games. Or, you can just go out and have a good time with it, which is what we do.

Consistent Internet connectivity is crucial to munzers. The game is played in real time. That’s why you won’t find any back country munzees – yet.

Munzee on a fence.

Coming soon to a fence post near you?

One other thing – Munzee is free, initially. You don’t pay anything for membership or the app. So if you are content to walk around and scan the occasional QR code for five points each, it’s free.

However, some people take this real seriously. There are different kinds of Munzees and different ways to capture or deploy them if you are so inclined. They all have one thing in common – they cost money. If you get serious about points or set up teams or get involved in contests, you can spend all the money you want.

So that’s Munzee in a nutshell. We just stumbled on to it five years ago. As soon as we tried it, we were hooked. It’s a natural extension of geocaching with some new twists. Now we do both. When we visit with our grandkids, the first thing they ask is “Can we go munzee hunting”? They get to run all around and use a smartphone. How can you resist?

Munz on … Boris and Natasha