I found this idea on a blog called Engaging Them All run by Kara Wilkins  and while I’ve made a few slight additions / modifications what I describe below is essentially her work.

Grudgeball is basically a team-based revision quiz game with a twist. While teams gain points for answering questions correctly, they also get the opportunity to take points away from opposing teams by playing GrudgeBall – shooting the hoop using an indoor basketball set (see below).

The game is designed for revision / review sessions – from one-off games played at the end of course, module or week to a “competitive season” played by the same teams throughout an academic year.

You Will Need

Indoor Basketball Set (such as this one). A relatively cheap set, consisting of a hoop with suction cups and foam rubber balls, that can be purchased from most toy shops should do the job.

Attach the hoop to a surface (a wall, above a door…) around 6 – 8 feet from the floor, keeping in mind that the higher the hoop the harder it will be for students to score points. Mark two lines on the floor in front of the hoop using something like masking tape. The 2-point line should be 5 – 6 feet away, the 3-point line 7 – 8 feet away, although these can be varied to suit the class.

Before you actually play the game for real it’s probably best to check these measurements with students of varying heights and basketball skills. You want to strike a balance between making it too easy or too difficult to score points by throwing the foam ball through the hoop.

If you want to minimise height advantages, try hanging the hoop about 3 feet above the floor. Instead of throwing the foam ball directly through hoop (as above) students have to bounce the ball into the hoop. If you use this variation you will probably need to move the throw lines further away.

Question cards
A set of prepared question cards (around 3”x3” – laminated if you can so they can be reused for other sessions) in sufficient quantity to fill the time you’ve set aside for the game, particularly if you’re running a session focused on a single topic, such as family, education or methods.

A useful resource here is the Question Banks created by The Hectic Teacher covering Family and Education (with Methods), Crime and Deviance, Beliefs in Society and Theory and Methods. These give you a ready-made supply of around 100 questions on each topic and, if necessary, you can use them as basis for creating further questions.

Dry Wipe board (or similar), marker pen and board eraser. While not essential this type of board allows students to physically remove points from their opponents and gives the game a further competitive edge.

How to Play

Divide the students into teams. If you have 10 students for example, 5 teams of 2 will make for a more involving and challenging game than 2 teams of 5.

Each team starts with 10 points, symbolised by ticks, stars or whatever you choose. These should be placed on the board in columns beneath each team’s number (or names if you want to personalise things further). In this example we’ll go with 5 teams of 2 students.

You can decide which team has the first question randomly (e.g. draw lots) or competitively (ask a question and the first team to answer correctly starts the game).

The first team draws a question from the stack of cards, reads the card aloud and then has 15 seconds (or whatever time limit you want to set – a maximum of 30 seconds keeps the game moving) to provide a correct answer. If they fail to answer or answer incorrectly play passes to the team to their right. If they answer correctly they:

• add one point to their team score.
• get the chance to remove points from opposing teams by Shooting the Grudgeball. One player from the team is given 30 seconds (or whatever) to shoot the Grudgeball through the basketball hoop from either the 2 or 3 point line. If successful from the:

• 2-point line they can remove 2 points from any opposing team / teams (2 points from one team or 1 point from 2 teams)
• 3-point line they can remove 3 points from any opposing team / teams (3 points from one team, 1 point from 3 teams etc.).

They cannot remove points from their own team.

The “Grudge” element here is that teams can gang-up on other team to rapidly remove all their points from the board and if you’re running the session as a quick “knock-out” tournament you can decide to remove any team that loses all its points from further participation.

Since this may defeat the (revision) object of the game, however, there are a couple of alternatives:

1. They get the chance to answer a question when it’s their turn. To score points, however, they must answer the question correctly and shoot the Grudgeball though the hoop. If they do this from the:

• 2-point line they can add 2 points to their score.
• 3-point line they can add 3 points to their score.

2. They can attempt to steal questions from other teams by answering the question before any of the opposing team. E.g. Team 1 loses all its points and team 2 has the next question. If team 1 answers that question correctly before anyone in team 2 can answer it they “steal the question” the game continues as in the first alternative noted above. Team 2, in this instance, loses the question and play continues with the team to their right as usual.

If you go with this option you may want to have the teacher read each card from the stack aloud rather than allow students to take the card.

This alternative both keeps all team in play and introduces a further strategic element to the game. I.e. it may not necessarily be in the opposing teams’ interests to automatically try to knock any other team to down to 0 points (although it may, on occasions, be a gambit that it’s in the interest of some teams to try…).

You can run the game for as long as you want, depending on what you want to achieve from the session. You will probably want to run the game longer for an end of course revision lesson than for an end of module or even end of week session. You can either run the game for a set amount of time (e.g. 30 minutes) or a set number of rounds to ensure all teams get the chance to answer the same number of questions.

When time is up the team with the most points remaining on the board wins (if two or more teams have the same number of points just use a tie-breaker question to find a winner).

Although I’ve tried to outline the basic rules of Grudgeball as clearly as I can, if you want to see an example of the game in action Kara’s original post has pictures of her class playing the game.


There are a number of possible variations that can be introduced into the basic game but for the sake of simplicity I’ll leave these until another post.

If you play Grudgeball with your classes and develop interesting variations of your own, please feel free to document them for others in the Comment section.

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