Best Teaching Strategies for Science: Quiz Quiz Trade

Quiz quiz trade is one of my favourite teaching strategies for science. I think you should add it to your repertoire of learning activities too!

This teaching strategy is really engaging for students and can be beneficial for a range of year groups. From middle primary school all the way up to ATAR high school classes. Quiz quiz trade is also a highly adaptable cooperative learning strategy that can be easily tailored to almost every learning area. However, in this article I’ll be giving examples of how I use the activity with my own middle school science classes – and it’s one of their favourites!

This article will cover how and why you should use this activity in your own classroom. It will also outline what the students say about the activity, and where you can find some great quiz quiz trade resources.

Image of cards fanned out. The backs of cards of visible, each card has two cartoon characters with circle bodies holding their hands up smiling. Each card says "Quiz, Quiz, Trade, Scientific Method". The image also contains grey text that reads "Quiz, quiz, trade: Best teaching strategies for science" in grey on a pale pink background

What is Quiz Quiz Trade?

For this activity, each student is given a card with a question and its answer. You read that correctly! Interestingly, unlike many other activities, students are given answers from the beginning. I like to provide a wide range of questions aligned with Blooms Taxonomy on the quiz quiz trade cards.

Students will stand up with their cards (and if yours are anything like mine, they need yet another reminder to push in their chairs). I then like to use the “stand up, hand up, pair up” technique for pairing students up. Students stand up, put their hand up and look for another free student who has a hand up. When they find their partner they can give them a big high five (or in Covid times a sanitary elbow bump!).

Students then take turns asking their partner the question on the card. As students have the correct answer on their card, they can give their partner immediate feedback. Or, if a student struggles, their partner can give them a hint. After each question is asked and answered, students swap cards and find their next partner in the room. The activity continues until students have had time to answer a range of questions.

Image of quiz quiz trade cards. The cards have various questions and answers. There are pencils and highlighters scattered around. The text next to the image reads: The cards: Each card has a unique question and answer and each student gets a card." there is also an illustration of a boy with question marks surrounding him.

Why should you use quiz quiz trade as one of your teaching strategies for science?

Quiz quiz trade is one of my favourite teaching strategies for science, and there are plenty of reasons why!

First, it’s fun! It’s an engaging and interactive activity for cooperative learning in classroom settings. Most of my students love it. They get to move out of their seats, wander around the room and talk to others. Especially so if your students have had a long, boring day of worksheets before they arrived at your class! 

It is also one of the best cooperative learning science activities for improving social capabilities of your students. When I first start using this activity with a new class, I am quite explicit with my expectations. I teach the students how they are to ask and answer questions, as well as how to listen to their classmates. I am very firm with how students are to respectively respond to their classmates when they get the answer wrong. It takes more time to set up at the beginning, but makes the activity run smoother in the future.

Finally, but perhaps most importantly it is a safe yet accountable activity. It’s accountable as students are directly questioned by their peers. Students don’t have the opportunity to be lazy – they must think and respond. But the accountability is also balanced with safety. Each card has the correct answer, so when students are asking their question they are the expert! If they get an answer wrong they are only failing in front of an audience of one, rather than the whole class. Using safe and accountable teaching strategies is also one of my favourite classroom management techniques to reduce misbehaviour. This would make it a strong strategy for new teachers or student teachers. For more tips for student teachers, check out my Ultimate Guide for Preservice Teachers.

This balance of safety and accountability makes quiz quiz trade a strong teaching strategy for science. It’s one you should try out!

How you can use quiz quiz trade in your classroom

Quiz quiz trade is such a versatile cooperative learning strategy. Here are some ways I use it in my classroom:

  • Diagnostic activity – used at the start of a new topic quiz quiz trade can be used to gauge students’ prior knowledge
  • Practice – used while learning a new topic to practice content
  • Revision – used at the end of a unit of work to revise content before assessment
  • Icebreaker activity – Used at the beginning of a new school year so students get the chance to mingle and get to know each other

What the students say about quiz quiz trade

Quiz quiz trade is a great teaching strategy for science but don’t just take it from me! I recently ran this activity with my year 8 Science class on the topic of atomic structure. Following the activity, I asked students for their feedback.

For context, my year 8 science class is mixed ability, and like most classes consists of a range of Personalities! 83% of students responded they enjoyed the activity and each student listed one thing they learned from the activity.

In general, most of my students enjoy the activity. However, I do have a couple of quiet students who get quite nervous in social situations and it’s also important to remember that sometimes a student might just be having an ‘off’ day. I keep this in mind while running this activity. Sometimes this just means watching out and suggesting pairs for hesitant students, or arranging an alternative activity for students who need it.

Image of two positive feedback surveys on a pink background. The image also includes an illustration of a hand holding a pencil on the right and a stack of three books on the left.

How can you mix it up?

  • Mingling to music – to add a bit of fun you can play music while students walk around the room, when the music stops they have to quickly partner with the student who is closest
  • Use the cards as task cards – individual questions can be selected and asked of students who finish early or as an exit ticket

Where can you find quiz quiz trade resources?

I’m also giving my blog audience the opportunity to download my Scientific Method quiz quiz trade activity for free! The resource is exclusively available for free by signing up to my mailing list below. This resource contains 42 cards, each with a unique question about the science method – perfect for teaching Science Inquiry Skills content for a wide range of year groups. I hope you try it out!

You can also visit my store on Teachers Pay Teachers to check out my growing range of science quiz quiz trade resources.

Have you tried quiz quiz trade activity in your class? Do you use it differently?

Comment and share below!

If you’re looking for more strategies you can implement into your classroom check out my other tips for teachers.

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