Fancy a fight? – a lesson plenary

There are many things to enjoy and take from The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook by Jim Smith, one idea that almost slips by is the ‘who would win in a fight?’ plenary. As with all Jim Smith’s ideas this is a devastatingly simple idea to implement with little preparation. The idea is to ask students who would win in a fight between two aspects within your lesson, so inspired by Celebrity Death Match it could be a fight between two people, such as Neville Chamberlain vs Adolf Hitler in a lesson on appeasement, or it could be a fight between two types of weapons, such as the machine gun vs. artillery, or further still two factors that can help answer a question, such as Mass Production vs Hire Purchase in a lesson on USA prosperity during the 1920s.

This unusual, but attractive, questioning encourages students to compare and make a judgement upon two aspects within your lesson. The key is to get the students to justify their conclusions and say why they would think mass production would beat hire purchase in a fight.

To add a little visual stimulus, I usually put the questions on a slide to present to students near the end of a lesson. Thus giving weaker students a visual stimulus. I include a couple of examples of such slides below. Also below is a worked example I used in a recent lesson I taught on the Black Death with Year 7. I asked who would win in a fight between a flea and a rat and there is an example below of a student’s response with which I was impressed as well as an example of giving immediate feedback with a verbal feedback stamp.

Rat vs Flea Black Death fight slide

Fight comment

Machine Gun vs Artillery fight slide

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