Social Policy Acronym Game

Member: Kristen S. Slack
(University of Wisconsin - Madison)
View more resources by Kristen S. Slack
Endorsements: 1

If you teach a class on U.S. social policy, particulary one that emphasizes child, youth and family policy, this is a fun game to play once students have been exposed to the basics of each policy/program included in the exercise.  Students can play the game solo or within small groups.  

Each slide adds a bubble with an acronym for a social policy or program in the U.S.  The student/group must (quietly, so as not give a neighboring team an advantage) spell out the full acronym on a sheet of paper AND write down one fact about the policy or program that speaks to eligibility rules, date of first enactment or last re-authorization, whether federally administered or administered by the state, means-tested or not, etc.

When you get through all of the slides, the instructor reads off the correct full name of each policy/program and students get 1 point for each item they get correct (you can decide how strict you want to be--e.g., Temporary Assistance to Needy Families could be considered incorrect, because it is actually "for" Needy Families), and award half-points if they are close.  As you read off each item, ask a smattering of students to give their facts about that particular policy/program.  (These contributions don't get points because it takes too long to go around and have every student state a fact, but it leads to discussion about the accuracy of the statements made and allows for elaboration and questions about the policies/programs.)  

Each studenet/group tallies their points and the one with the highest number "wins".  You can do tie-breakers by popcorning among the groups with = points, asking them to state additional facts about various programs with a sudden death for incorrect statements. I incentivize the game with a prize for the winning student or group, like some school bling or gift cards to a coffee shop.  This exercise works best with smaller classrooms, e.g., < 30.

Answer key for the acronyms are in the notes section of the last slide.

Free to use without citation
Last Revised Date 
Wed, 08/14/2019 - 14:12
Social Work
Keywords / Tags 
social policy
Type of resource 
In-class Exercise
Resource Institution 
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Institution Type 
4 or 4+ year College/University