Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in the U.S.A.?

Janice Mazza


Students learn facts and select information about other states by playing a form of -Who Wants to be a Millionaire?- where they create questions and gather information to answer questions by using a variety of reference sources.


The student uses a variety of reference materials to gather information, including multiple representations of information for a research project (for example, maps, charts, photos).

The student uses a systematic research process (including but not limited to selects a topic, formulates questions, narrows the focus of a topic, develops a plan for gathering information).


-Markers, 1 per group
-Pencils for each student
-5 X 8 note cards, 10 per group
-United States large wall map
-Pins with flags with the Number/Name of each group
-Audiotape of Patriotic Songs
-Tape Player
-Uncle Sam Hat
-Use of Media Center
-Reference books (encyclopedia, atlas, almanac, dictionary, non-fiction books, Internet, electronic reference resources)
-5 computers with Internet access
-Handout Specific Guidelines for Generating Questions (see associated file)


1. Hang up U.S. wall map.
2. Play soft patriotic music in the background.
3. Discuss/Plan with Media Specialist.
4. Arrange to use Media Center for 1-1.5 hours for 2 consecutive days and have reference books and computers available.


1. Dress up using an Uncle Sam hat and a hang a wall banner, Who Wants to be a Millionaire in the U.S.? Play patriotic music in the background. Pretending to be a talk show host, explain that each team prepares questions of different levels of difficulty about a state for other teams to answer on the show.Teams exchange questions to gather information and find answers. Teams are awarded $$$ for correct answers. Review various sources and the type of information they contain. Remind students of those that they might not be familiar with, but are available in your media center.

2. Arrange students into teams of three. Each group selects a state to gather information about during the activity and place their marker (pin) on the map hung on the wall. Each team must choose a different state.

3. Teams develop 10 questions according to specific guidelines developed by the teacher (see attachment). A specific reference source can only be used 2 times to generate a question. This will motivate students to use at least 5 different reference sources. Teams research in the Media Center to complete this task. Questions are written on the handout and include the source they used. After all questions on generated, the team prints the questions on note cards.

4. On Day 2-3, teams are given the questions generated by another group. They research in the Media Center 1-1.5 hours to find the answers to questions. Teams can only use each reference source (lifeline) twice. In other words, students can use the print encyclopedia only 2 times. They need to choose another source for the other answers. Encourage teams to look at all the questions before they begin and decide which reference sources would be the best choice to find the information for each question. As they answer the questions on the back of the note card they must include the source they used.

5. On Day 4, each team plays How to Be a Millionaire in the U.S.A. The team that generated questions is the host while the team that answered the questions present their answers and earn points.


Circulate and assist students as they use reference sources to generate questions. Refer to Guidelines for Questions to help students choose reference sources develop questions. Continue this process on Day 2 as teams try to answer the questions.
Use the rubric to evaluate the questions formulated by each team and the types and variety of resources that were used to formulate the questions. Teacher observation will evaluate the answers to questions during the game.


1 Using the same format, the topic can be changed.
2. Students that finish ahead of time can view a video of the United States, make a poster, travel brouchure or some other relative activity while waiting for others to finish.

Web Links

Web supplement for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in the U.S.A.?
Around the World

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