Thing-Go Bingo

Literacy Science
Time 45 minutes
Age 7 & up
Group Size 4 or more
Tags Games, Minimal Materials, Observation

Predict what you'll see!

The goal of Thing-Go Bingo is to have young detectives observe closely, look longer, make predictions and record their findings. This activity not only focuses on observing local environments and data collection, but also provides a chance for your students to build other skills like pattern recognition, problem solving, and communicating.


Make copies of the Thing-Go Bingo (Click for PDF) sheets or create your own using the included sheet as a template.  See Figure 1 for an example of a filled-in sheet.

Thing-Go Bingo

Suggested Materials

  • Clipboards (15)
  • Paper (30 sheets)
  • Pencils or pens (15)
  • Thing-Go Bingo sheets (Click for PDF) (30)
  • Stopwatch or person with a watch

Make it Matter

Opening Discussion

Ask your students to predict the kinds of things that might pass by outside your afterschool center or in a nearby park. Will cars pass by? People? Animals? Garbage trucks? Encourage them to think of both living and non-living things, and encourage them to be creative—rather than just saying “a person,” try “a person with a blue shirt,” etc. Write down anything that is predicted on a piece of chart paper or a chalkboard.

The Challenge

Predict what you will observe when you go outside, then play a game to see if your predictions come true!


Make it Happen

Doing the Activity

  1. Have your students work in pairs for this activity.
  2. Hand out copies of the Thing-Go Bingo sheets to each pair (give each team 2 copies), or have them create bingo sheets using the version that follows these instructions as a guide.
  3. Refer to the brainstorm list that the whole class made about what might pass by outside, and ask each team to record their predictions in the different squares of their Thing-Go Bingo sheet. They should write down a different “thing” (an item from the earlier brainstorm list) in each square.  They can place a “?” in 2 squares—this is for anything they see outside that WASN’T on the class’s brainstorm list. Once your students have made predictions about what they will see outside, lead them to the area where they can collect their data.
  4. Go outside and play Thing-Go Bingo! When the teacher says “Go!,” teams should look for the objects on their cards. When a team sees something that they predicted would pass by, they should mark that square on their sheet. The first team to get 4 items in a row across, down or diagonally should yell out “Thing-Go Bingo!” Play once and gather your students together to discuss what they observed.

Make it Click

Let’s Talk About It

When your students have played once, bring them together to talk about what they observed. What are some of the things they saw pass by? Was there anything that they saw that was not on the brainstorm list? Was there anything they were sure they would see that they did not? Have each team fill out a new Bingo sheet.


Make it Better

Build On What They Talked About

Play again, as many times as you would like. See Suggestions below for some variations and extensions.


  • Rather than playing “Bingo”, have your students play for a set amount of time (use the stopwatch to time 2 minutes at first, longer for later games) and see how many “things” they can find from their entire Bingo board. How many boxes can they fill?
  • Choose categories to look for—if you are in a park, you might look for living things. If you are near a road, you can look for types of automobiles, etc.
  • If you are working with older children and you are looking at categories, you can ask them to make charts or graphs of their findings. Make sure they are keeping detailed records of what they observed. Then, have them create bar graphs of pie charts of the information they collected – for example, if you are looking for living things, how many were insects? How many were mammals? If you were looking for cars, how many were blue? How many red? How many trucks?
  • You can stimulate your students’ success by working alongside them. Focus their attention on what they see, and give them enough opportunity to record their data and share their findings.
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