Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Unfair Game/Give or Take Game

In online CI groups and in social media, there has been much talk about the Unfair Game over the years. For some reason, I never investigated what this game was, although folks were praising it as a fun activity for students. This summer at IFLT, Martina Bex talked about the activity with our cohort, and suddenly I realized that I already knew what this game was - I just called it something different! 

I have always called the game "Give or Take," but I like the title "The Unfair Game," because that so describes this game. Here is a link to the directions which Martina Bex has written up for the activity. However, I have always used it with a PowerPoint that has a grid with hyperlinks. The game is still played the same way but now with a visual. Students will pick a number from the grid, and the point total is revealed using the hyperlink. Although it is a generic grid and I have to write in new questions and answers, I can re-use the basic template.

Give or Take PowerPoint example 
  • Download the PowerPoint and change the questions/answers.
  • Don't touch the hyperlinks when editing. 
  • The two icons, face and thunderbolt, are purely decorative. Choose which icon you want to be "give" and which one will be "take" - both icons have the same point value attached to it.
Directions for PowerPoint version
  1. Project the slide which has the number grid.
  2. Ask a student to pick a number from the grid, and click on that number. There should be a hyperlink on that number,
  3. Ask the question now on the screen.
  4. Student will respond.
  5. Click on the screen to reveal the answer. Be sure NOT to click on the face or thunderbolt.
  6. If the response is correct, ask if the student wants to give or take the points. 
  7. If the response is incorrect, ask the other team if it wishes to give or take the points.
  8. Click on the icon, and a point total will be revealed.
  9. Click on the yellow reverse arrow, and you should now be at the original number grid. Numbers which have already been called will now be a different color.
  10. Begin again with a new student on the other team.
  1. Students REALLY get into this activity!
  2. This is a great post-reading activity for a story, because there are so many different types of questions which you can ask (see Martina Bex's examples).
  3. Quite honestly, although there are questions involved with this activity, for students it is all about giving or taking the points and making the correct choice for their teams.
  4. I always tell students that they will either love this game or hate it depending on which end of the "fair/unfair" that they are on.
  5. I also tell students that it is best to volunteer to be one of the first ones to pick a question, since there is not any stress just yet in the activity.
  6.  I have had students deliberately miss a question for which they knew the answer, because they did not want the stress of having to choose either give or take.
  7. The PowerPoint does not transfer well to Google Slides, because the hyperlinks get all messed up, so I just edit the PowerPoint template each time I use it.
  8. Miss Maestra in the Middle's' version - great way to involve ALL students in the game at the same time instead of just two teams.
  9. This is an easy game to keep in the target language, since the questions/answers are in the target language, and I keep the dialogue basic and formulaic: 
Teacher: Do you want to give or to take?
Student: I want to take.
Teacher: O class, _________ wants to take. And the points are ____________.


  1. Thank you for sharing the template. I played it using your template and my questions. I made all of the questions rather easy and then added one rule (because I assumed they would answer correctly the majority of the time): if the team answers incorrectly, I added a point to their score (if they were at 0 or above; or subtracted a point from their score if they were in the negative.


  2. Miss Maestra in the Middle's blog has been deleted. Would you be able to summarize (if you remember) her version of it? I have a lot of kids who like to check out if they're not actively answering & I've been trying to come up with some adaptations.

    1. Hmmm...I believe one of them was not to create teams but that students had individual whiteboards and they answered the questions accordingly one at a time, chose give/take if they answered correctly, and kept score on their own on their whiteboards?