Mr Kemp NZ

Paper, Scissors, WHATEVER!

Sometimes it is difficult to get students talking, discussing ideas and debating topics. When I heard of this game while out with friends recently, I knew it had to be adapted to Education.

This post will offer up some adaptations of this game suitable for education and will encourage you to think of integration ideas suitable for your next unit of learning. Even better, I would love to see/hear your ideas. Please share them with me via Twitter/Facebook or at the bottom of this post.

The rules are pretty simple as per the game paper, scissors, rock! Check out this link for more details on the basics of the game if you don’t know already.

Image adapted from

“Paper, Scissors, Whatever”, as adapted here for Education, is designed to get people talking/sharing and can be adapted for any age. 

The basics of this game are simple:

  • It can be custom designed to suit your learning objective and works just like the game paper, scissors, rock (stone) which means that you can play this game from 5-year-olds, all the way up to adult education.
  • To play, you:
    • Choose a topic (for this example lets use “what would go faster down a hill” – this could be done as part of a forces and motions unit). The game is set up with the students to start a debate or a discussion about the learning that is happening in your classroom.
    • The students then play paper, scissors, ‘whatever’ –> in this example, instead of saying rock (stone), the student would say the thing that they think would go fastest down a hill. For example, one student might say ‘boulder’ and the other student might say ‘bowling ball’. This always works best when you give people less time to think.
    • They would then discuss and debate (2min max) which would win and decide on a reason WHY (if no decision can be made the ‘judge’ (normally the teacher) would make an executive decision.
    • The winner then moves on and plays another winner, until an ultimate class winner is found.
    • *** Discussions and Debates are the keys to this activity, so the way you set this up is important ***
    • Within 5-10 minutes you will have some of the best learning discussions ever seen in your classroom and students will have a better understanding of the topic and of their WHY.

Here are some examples that you could try (or simply to get you thinking of possibilities):

  • What would go down the hill the fastest/slowest?
  • What would jump the highest?
  • Who would run fastest in a 100m sprint?
  • Who would win in a fight? (could be for older students looking at civilizations or wars)
  • Where is the coldest/warmest place in the world?
  • Who is the heaviest/lightest?
  • What country is the largest/smallest?

I would love to see/hear your ideas – there are so many and I don’t want to limit your creativity by listing too many here. My suggestion is to go away and brainstorm ideas with your team for your next unit and see where it takes you.

Engage your students in conversation with this amazing game and please share them with me via Twitter/Facebook or as a comment below.

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Global EdTech Consultant based in Singapore but working with Schools and EdTech companies all over the world. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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