Classroom games for Key Stage Three (KS3) students

classroom games for KS3 students

Published: September 10th, 2021

Fun classroom games and activities are an integral part of the learning experience for children of all ages. With the move to secondary school, the difficulty steps up a level, along with the number of subjects on offer. This means children’s attention gets harder and harder to keep hold of so making lessons exciting and engaging is more important than ever.

Finding the best resources and lesson plans for Key Stage 3 can be difficult. There are numerous ways you can implement lesson delivery software to help bring games into the classroom or capture teenagers’ attention with video or assets on an interactive display.

As experts in smart classroom technology, we’re here to help you find the best resources to engage your whole class, no matter the subject you are teaching.

The importance of play for older children

Play isn’t just for young children. In Key Stage 3, when children are in a new school environment, settling into new lessons and generally developing at an incredibly rapid rate, capturing, keeping and nurturing their attention is key. Gamification is one of the best ways you can do that, whether it’s simply starter activities to get a lesson going or a game that lasts a whole hour.

What is gamification?

“Applying gaming elements, like point-scoring and competitions, to areas that don’t usually use it with the aim of engaging the audience.”

A fun game can snap student’s attention right back to learning, help them unpick a particularly challenging concept that simply reading couldn’t or encourage them to make new friends in their class. So without further ado, here is the ultimate list of games and activities for Key Stage 3 students.

English Games

At Key Stage 3 level, students will be improving their reading, writing and verbal skills by engaging with some of the biggest plays and books in the English language. This includes their first look at Shakespeare and other seminal texts. They’ll also be expected to apply critical thinking to both books and poetry to understand language in use. This makes English a perfect subject to apply activities and classroom games to in order to keep students interested in their learning.

Shakespeare: Murder Mystery

Everyone loves a good mystery, and Shakespeare plays, particularly the likes of Macbeth, are perfect for a murder mystery game. Split the class into two teams or small groups and have them run through each character’s motivations and alibis for the death of Macbeth. This is a great game to encourage all the students to get involved in solving the murder and learning about a classic piece of English literature.

Rory’s Story Cubes

What better way to get the imagination flowing for a creative writing session than with some simple randomised prompts? Story cubes, or story dice, let you roll for concept inspiration and storyboard ideas. Why not set a brief, give some story cubes to your class and let them create unique stories? If you want to encourage teamwork skills in your students, split the class into small groups and get them to come up with a story together using one or all the words the cubes provide.

We’re sure you will love getting the whole class involved in our complete list of Key Stage Three English games to help their understanding of the complexities of the English language and its uses.

Maths Games

Maths at Key Stage 3 takes a step up in difficulty. Equations and algebra will be added to the curriculum alongside probability, statistics and modelling. Students will be encouraged to develop fluency, reason mathematically and solve problems, ideally without a calculator.

Minus Miners

This fun classroom game was made by students at King Edward VI School in Stratford-upon-Avon and is perfect for younger children of Key Stage 3. Complete several negative equations to manoeuvre your miner through the tunnels and collect the coins. This game is ideal for one child to play or shown on an interactive whiteboard for the whole class to contribute to.


This classic game has been used in classrooms up and down the country for decades. You create a racetrack game board displayed on your interactive whiteboard, and students must answer questions to move around it. You can tailor this to whatever you’re currently teaching in your Maths classes, change the difficulty level easily and even encourage healthy competition by dividing students into two teams to see who can get their car to the finish line first.

Are you looking for more fun ways to improve the complex mathematical skills of your students? We have 7 other maths games for Key Stage Three we are sure you will love!  Don’t forget; your ActivInspire teaching software also has a great range of maths tools included for free!

Science Games

Key Stage 3 science is split into biology, chemistry and physics. Students will be expected to develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding of science’s nature, processes, and methods throughout each subject. 

Science is the perfect subject for interactive games as it can help students understand the world around them in a more fun and creative way. Science classes also provide an excellent opportunity to divide students into groups and give them team building games to improve their communication skills.

Biobreakers (Biology)

Inspired by the hit TV game show Blockbusters, this is a fun and engaging game designed to help your students learn critical terms within biology. The aim is to work your way across the grid of letters in a line, with questions phrased around the letter, for example:

“This [C] is a tiny blood vessel” – a capillary.

Chemical Eruption (Chemistry)

This is an all-time classic chemistry activity that helps students understand how volcanoes work and learn about chemical reactions. Students create their own volcano and add a few simple ingredients to create a tremendous volcanic eruption!  

Circuit Builder (Physics)

An interactive circuit builder is a fun way for students to learn the basics of circuit drawing while also testing out basic circuits in a safe environment. Just drag and drop the components and see how it works!

Discover our full range of resources for KS3 science games that can easily integrate into any science lesson. 

History Games

History at Key Stage 3 looks at British, local and world events over the last 100 years. The main concepts include the development of the Church, state and society from medieval Britain in 1066 through to the 1900s. This consists of the Norman conquest, the Black Death, the Empire, the Seven Years War, women’s suffrage and a range of other subjects. Adding in fun games is vital, significantly to help bring history to life with so much to unpack.

Magna Carta Keywords

The Magna Carta is an essential part of British history, and learning the key elements is a necessary part of Key Stage 3 history. This word game can help students remember and learn essential parts of the document.

Castles – Walk the plank

Castles were a pivotal part of the UK’s history. This quiz game will see how much you’ve learnt about their development, and any wrong answers will bring your character closer to walking the plank!

The Black Death Storyboard

A storyboard is an excellent way to engage students with history. This one focuses on a key event in Key Stage 3 history; the Black Death. Work as a class or individually and encourage your pupils to fill in the storyboard with all the details about the event they know.

Geography Games

The key focus of Key Stage 3 Geography is growing students’ understanding of the world around them. This includes other countries, maps and physical geographies such as plate tectonics, rocks, weathering and rivers. With a large focus on fieldwork, there’s plenty of room for immersive activities and a challenging game or two.

Name the UK’s Cities

Start local; this is a simple game that just needs your class to name all the cities in the UK against the clock. An interactive map gives you hints based on location, but why not make the game more challenging and split students into teams. The first team to name the most cities wins!

Stop disasters!

This interactive game lets your students try and plan ahead against the world’s worst natural disasters. You’re given a map, a budget and a population that you need to save from a tsunami, hurricane, earthquake or volcanic eruption.

Water Cycle Dominoes

This activity encourages students to work together to solve the puzzles. Divide the class into two teams and get students to work together to form a whole chain of dominos. The aim is to match up keywords with their definitions to help them learn and understand the water cycle.

How to implement Key Stage 3 games to improve outcomes with Promethean

Key Stage 3 is critical in a child’s learning journey. A lot is changing, and they’ll be tackling trickier problems across various subjects. Keeping them engaged and involved in the learning process is essential and making them feel like an active participant in the learning is more key than ever. 

Promethean creates world-class interactive displays and teaching software perfect for any classroom, and we offer extensive resources  to help you make the most of your smart classroom technology.

Are you interested in learning more? Visit the virtual demo page to request a free, live demo of the Promethean ActivPanel interactive display.

If you have enjoyed this guide, why not check out some of our other expert interactive whiteboard resources