I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction

Martin Luther King (1957-1968)

Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, 1964

Bombs Away!

Choice Card: Bombs Away!
Elementary Aged and Up
5 minutes and up
Class Size:
Energy Level:
Whiteboard (magnetic)
Bombs, shooter, timer, worksheets

This game can be used with a variety of tasks. It requires some preparation:

1. Before the game can be played you'll need some bombs. I've provided a sheet of 20 bombs that can be printed out, mounted on card, cut out and assembled. During play we typically use 5-10 bombs - I've provide more for variety. (jump to get file)

2. Ideally you'll have some kind of shooter to play. I have a cup and ball shooter that fires ping-pong balls. If you don't have a shooter it's possible to use hair-bands (the soft elastic kind are best). You need something to blow the bombs out of the sky!

Bomb Detail3. You'll need some way to position the bombs on the whiteboard. I have some square magnets which the bombs sit nicely on. If you only have access to ordinary round magnets make a platform for each bomb by scoring and bending a piece of card. Here's a diagram to show you what I mean.

4: You'll need an appropriate task. With elementary aged children I've been doing writing. The nature of the task varies with the ability of the class. With some the target has been spelling three letter words, others have been making their own sentences.

5. To ready the game draw a city outline at the bottom of the whiteboard and a plane at the top. Place some bombs at random heights on the whiteboard.

6. The game is played in rounds. Use a timer and set an appropriate length of time (90 seconds works for me but experiment - it's OK to change the time limit from round to round). Players work on their tasks individually. Every time a player completes a problem give the player a chance to shoot down the bombs. At the end of the round play pauses. Move the bombs down the whiteboard, one or two bomb lengths. Start the next round.

Bombs Away ! Whiteboard7. The object of the game is to save as much of the city as possible. If a bomb reaches a building erase it and draw in rubble/flames as desired. I think the game works best if the number of bombs on the whiteboard is limited to 4 or 5. As one bomb is destroyed allow the plane to drop fresh bombs until your predetermined number of bombs is used up.


I've been using this game without comment. I haven't mentioned any specific wars, though I think the game might be a good introduction into a discussion about modern 'warfare'.

if using a worksheet as the task you may like give out different sheets at the same time. I've mixed easy and challenging sheets together. In this case the sheets should be shared. After each round players pass their sheet on to the player on the left. In this way the sheets are circulated. For reinforcement sheets can have duplicated items. You could also mix up sheets done previously