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Balloon Bop


Students analyze an assessment question and correct learning mistakes by participating in a collaborative balloon activity.


  • Assessment questions (projected)
  • Balloon Bop template (English/Spanish)
  • Blue and green balloons (or colored paper)
  • Music


  1. Organize students into groups of 5-6.
  2. Provide each group with 1 blue balloon and 1 green balloon, and tell them to blow up the balloons.
  3. Project a complex assessment question (template provided).

Round 1

  1. Start the music.
  2. Students pass the blue balloon around the circle like a “hot potato.”
  3. Stop the music.
  4. Student holding the blue balloon shares what the question is about and one way to start; the group shares another.

Round 2

  1. Start the music.
  2. Students bop the green balloon around the circle, not letting it hit the ground.
  3. Stop the music.
  4. Student closest to or holding the green balloon eliminates 1 answer choice; the group eliminates another.

Round 3

  1. Start the music.
  2. Students pass the blue balloon and bop the green balloon at the same time.
  3. Stop the music.
  4. Students holding the blue and green balloons debate the final 2 answer choices.
  5. The group decides which answer is correct.

Classroom Management

  • Model how to pass the blue balloon and bop the green balloon.
  • Role-play or rehearse how students must stop playing with the balloons when the music stops and how the person nearest the balloon is the one who grabs it without argument.
  • Remind students there will be no harm or humiliation for incorrect answers because correcting mistakes is a sign of intelligence!


  • Promote access by allowing questions to be previewed or allowing the use of notes/journals.
  • Promote access by providing the correct answer for students to justify.
  • Provide response support by allowing the balloon holder to “phone a friend” to collaborate on a response.

Think It Up!

  • Have students think more deeply about the concept by responding to a Think It Up prompt as an exit ticket or journal entry:
    • What connection did you make to a mistake? Explain how to avoid the mistake in the future.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.