Classroom games and activities are an integral part of the learning experience. With the move to secondary school, the difficulty steps up a level, along with the number of subjects on offer. Not only that, but children’s attention gets harder and harder to keep hold of.

Finding the right 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 teenager’s attention with video or assets on an interactive display.

As experts in smart classroom technology, we’re here to help you put together powerful lesson plans to engage your whole class with our list of classroom games for Key Stage 3.

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 KS3 students.

KS3 Games for English

At KS3 level, students will be improving their reading, written and verbal skills by reading some of the biggest plays and books in the English language. This includes their first look at Shakespeare and other seminal texts. They’ll be expected to apply critical thinking to both books and poetry. This makes it a perfect subject to apply activities and games to in KS3.

Shakespeare: Murder Mystery

Everyone loves a good mystery. Shakespeare plays, particularly the likes of Macbeth, are absolutely perfect for a proper murder mystery game. Break the class up into groups and have them run through each character’s motivations and alibis for the death of Macbeth.

Paint Chip Poetry

Using colour is a wonderful way to make poetry more vivid. Using a colour sample chip you can be inspired by the colours and colour names to create flowing poetry. Create a prompt card and change your poems up every time.

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 completely unique stories?

KS3 Games for Maths

Maths at KS3 takes a step up in difficulty. Equations and algebra will be added into the curriculum alongside probability, statistics and modelling. Students will be encouraged to develop fluency, reason mathematically and solve problems, ideally without a calculator. Numbers and algebra are perfect for gamifying, learning pythagoras and creating graphs should be fun! Don’t forget, your ActivInspire teaching software also has a great range of maths tools included for free!

Minus Miners

A game made by students at King Edward VI school in Stratford-upon-Avon, this is perfect for students at the younger end of KS3. Complete a number of negative equations to maneuver your miner through the tunnels and collect the coins. It’s perfect for individual players or an interactive whiteboard and the whole class.

Yes/No guessing game

A great game to help people understand basic properties like prime numbers, multiples and square numbers. Each player needs to choose 5 numbers, then players get to ask a series of questions about that number’s properties (i.e. is it a multiple of 3?). They can only be answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If the answer is ‘yes’ they get to ask again, if it’s ‘no’ then the questioner changes. Correctly guessing a number gets you 1 point and the first to 5, wins!

Racetrack

 A classic technique to engage the whole class. You create a racetrack game board that’s 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 and change the difficulty level easily.

KS3 Games for Science

In KS3 science is split into the three subjects of biology, chemistry and physics. Students will be expected to develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science throughout each subject.

Biobreakers (Biology)

Inspired by the hit TV game show Blockbusters, this is a fun and engaging game designed to help your students learn key 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 which helps students understand how volcanoes work and learn about chemical reactions. Students create their own volcano and add a few simple ingredients to create an amazing volcanic eruption!  

Circuit Builder (Physics)

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

KS3 Games for History

History at KS3 looks at British, local and world events over the last 100 years. The main concepts include the development of Church, state and society from medieval Britain in 1066 through to the 1900s. This includes the Norman conquest, the black death, empire, the Seven Years War, women’s suffrage and a range of other subjects. With so much to unpack, adding in activities and games is key, especially to help bring history to life.

Magna Carta Keywords

The Magna Carta is an important part of British history and learning the key elements is an important part of KS3 history. This word game can both help students remember and learn important parts of the document.

Castles – Walk the plank

Castles were a pivotal part of the UK’s history. This quiz 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 KS3 history; the Black Death.  Work as a class or individually and encourage your pupils to fill in the storyboard.

KS3 Games for Geography

The key focus of KS3 Geography is growing student’s 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.

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. There’s an interactive map that gives you hints based on location.

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 is an activity for the whole class. Students need to work together to form a whole chain of dominos, where they match up key words with their definitions to help them learn and understand the water cycle.

How to implement KS3 games to improve outcomes with Promethean

KS3 is a particularly important stage in a child’s learning journey. A lot is changing and they’ll be tackling trickier problems across a range of subjects. Keeping them engaged and involved in the learning process is important and making them feel like an active participant in the learning is more key than ever. Promethean creates world-class interactive whiteboards perfect for any classroom, and we offer extensive resources and educational software to help you make the most of your smart classroom technology.

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