A New Instructor Discovers Games for Teaching Medical Terminology

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Game!

As a new medical terminology instructor, this is how I discovered using games in the classroom.

When my boys were little, we had a Friday night ritual we called Family Fun Night. It consisted of board games and lots of snacks! As my boys grew, I introduced the Family Fun Night into our family holidays.

What fun we have when we come together for games and food.


When I became a new Instructor (4 months fresh!) I was searching for ways to incorporate fun along with learning into my lectures. Having been a student myself, I know what it is like to sit and to listen to a 90-minute talk. Honestly, sometimes not so much fun. One day while writing my lecture, it hit me; why not add fun into my classroom by repurposing Family Fun Night. So, that’s what I did. I’d like to share with you what I observed the games added for my students – enrichment, encouragement, and excitement.

Enrichment

Being a new Instructor teaching Medical Terminology, I felt that not only did I need to make a first good impression, but I knew I needed to gain the trust of my students. I also knew I needed to present topics and discussions that were fresh, high quality, and included some fun.

I moved slowly with the fun part. I started by incorporating funny slides and jumble games into my PowerPoint.  Implementing this simple and fun activity during the first week of class was a success for me as a new instructor. It helped the students relax and become engaged with learning and with each other.

I believe it enriched their learning experience.

Encouragement

Students, whether 19 or 99, need encouragement to succeed in the classroom. Since memorizing medical terms can be a daunting task, I realized they would need a lot of encouragement. How could I provide this in my classroom? Games? Maybe! I tried it. It worked!

Students loved it and were encouraged to learn more. It appealed to their competitiveness and they liked showing off what they had learned. I sensed it helped them realize they were learning the language and were motivated to learn more.

Plus winners came away with a snack!

Excitement

Who doesn’t love a good game? When I watch my students play a game, I see their excitement to play and eagerness to compete. It fills me with so much satisfaction to know that I am doing my job as an Instructor. What a great feeling! Even incorporating a simple game of matching medical terms can bring excitement as well as engagement and enthusiasm. More words that start with E – I think I’m on to something.

As I continue to bring Family Fun Night into my class, I have come across some great tools and resources I would like to share with you.

Please think about incorporating them into your classroom. I am confident that your students will become enriched, be encouraged to learn more and feel excited about learning. And, it doesn’t hurt if you provide snacks too!

Tools and Resources

  1. Check the online resources that come with the textbook you are using. For example, Basic Medical Language and Exploring Medical Language both have Medical Millionaire (Jeopardy-like game) and Tournament of Terminology games as part of their free online resources.
  2. Jeopardy Game – you can find templates online. I like to give the winning team $100,000 Grand candy bars.
  3. Kahoot (kahoot.com) is a game-based learning platform that allows the instructor to create quizzes and introduce them in the classroom. The students download the app onto their phone.
  4. Write the wrong medical terms on the board. Students get into teams and race to figure out the correct words
  5. Flashcards/matching game (my favorite). I recently purchased the book Exploring Medical Language. This book has been an excellent resource as a new Instructor. I use the flashcards that come with the text for each lesson I give.
  6. Jumbles – I like to incorporate jumbles into the middle of my lectures to give students a break. I have found that jumbles are the best for this active learning activity.
  7. Crosswords and quizzes – I use a crossword and quizzes when I have finished a lecture early and need a good 20-minute activity. Of course, I turn it into a game, well actually a race. I have found the crossword puzzles on medicalterminologyblog.com to be the best for this activity.
  8. Ectomy game – students have to race against the clock to come up with terms ending in -ectomy.
  9. Not sure what to do? You can make almost anything into a game.

Anissa McBreen, RHIT
Health Information Technology Instructor
Gateway Community and Technical College
Edgewood, Kentucky


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Medical Terminology Games
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