Return to Headlines

APUSH Catch Phrase

Published Friday, October 25, 2019

Ask teachers, and they will tell you – teaching to the test is something they HATE doing. However, some classes, like Advanced Placement U.S. History have a heavily weighted exam at the end of the year that has an impact on students heading to college.

Goose Creek High’s Jessica Olin has found a way to help students conquer the year-end exam while also having fun and learning (versus memorizing) the content. It’s a game called APUSH (A.P. U.S. History) Catch Phrase, and through its regular implementation in the classroom, students are able to recall information, verbalize what they have learned and write about it.

APUSH Catch Phrase cards

APUSH Catch Phrase

  1. The teacher creates a stack of cards that cover major topics, events, terms and people.
  2. Students arrange the desks into one large circle and sit next to one another.
  3. The students are divided into two teams around the circle. For example, student one is on team one; student two is on team two and student three is on team three.
  4. The game begins with one student in possession of the stack of cards. The student will attempt to describe the word on the card to the class without saying a word on the card. The description must be in a historical context. They cannot say “it rhymes with” or “it sounds like.” Other students on the team are the only ones who should answer the student who has the card at that time. If the student does know the term, they pass the deck of cards to the next person and the team loses a point. There are timed rounds of 90 seconds, the students should NOT be able to see the timer. The cards move around the circle as students guess the correct term or a student passes. When the timer goes off, whichever team is holding the deck of cards loses that round and the other team earns any points they gained in that round. 
  5. The teacher should be keeping track of the points for the teams, noting points gained and points lost when they pass the deck.

Ms. Olin says the level of excitement is always high when her students play APUSH Catch Phrase. She gives extra credit to the winning team, but each student participating benefits on a much larger scale.

“It allows us to cover a large amount of content in a short time,” she said. “Students are able to work collectively and compete, but it also forces the student to think critically and gain an enduring understanding of the material.”