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Engaging a whole school: "Family Feud," Jaffrey-Rindge (N.H.) Middle School

At Jaffrey-Rindge, eighth graders surveyed their peers to learn about bullying: how many kids had experienced it, how often it had happened, where it happened most, etc. Then they staged a rollicking version of "Family Feud" between two teams: the Nerds and the Girl Gang.

With their cutting comments and devastating eye rolls, popular eighth-grade girls played mean girls in the Girl Gang (nearly every middle-school girl seems to know how to do this). Some of the school's best actors portrayed the Nerds—among them a boy with suspenders and taped-together glasses who nasally said, introducing himself, "I like to solve quadratic equations," and the hippyish girl Fawn, who said, "I like to save the rainforest."

As in the TV show, survey questions were posed, and most of these related to the bullying-survey results. Sprinkled with inspired ad libbing (first nerd: "What's Aeropostale?" second nerd: "I'm not sure. Some sort of mail service?"), the contest—it all came down to one tie-breaking survey question—opened up this issue, defused its intimidation factor, and delivered real-world learning through hilarious self-parody.

It was a beautiful thing.

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