Guide to the Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Board Game

Kevin Ott
Family playing a board game

The Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? board game (based on the popular television game show of the same name) challenges everyone's knowledge of subjects taught in the fifth grade. It's a fun trivia game for two to four players, ages 8 and up.

How to Play

The game works in the following way (according to its official instructions):

1. Draw Cards

When you take a turn, you draw a card and read the question aloud. The other players write their answer on paper. If you think you know it, you say the answer, then slide the card up to see if you are correct. If you don't know the answer, you can choose to "save yourself" by selecting one of the answers written down by the other players (see "Get Help" below). If you answer a question correctly, your pawn moves one space forward on the money section of the board. There are 11 spaces in total.

2. Try to Stay in the Game

You keep taking turns until you get a question wrong. One wrong answer knocks you out of the game. The next player (in a clockwise direction) then gets their chance to answer questions. The questions asked of each player increase in difficulty, starting at the first grade level and progressing in difficulty up to questions from a fifth grade curriculum. No more than two questions can be asked from each grade level.

3. Get Help Along the Way

During your turn, you have three chances to save yourself using three special cards:

  • The Copy card allows you to pick a player and use their answer. If their answer is correct, you move on to the next money space. In addition, the player whose answer was correct is awarded a $1,000 token.
  • The Peek card allows you to look at a player's answer to see if you want to use it. You can keep your answer if their answer doesn't seem right. If you choose their answer and it is correct, you move to the next space on the board and the player whose answer was correct gets a $1,000 token.
  • The Save card allows you to save yourself if you get an answer wrong. You place it in front of another player, and if that player's answer is correct, they "save" you. That player gets a $1,000 token.

4. Rack Up the Money

When you answer a question correctly, you move to the next money space. When you reach the $25,000 level, you get to keep the money shown on the space even if you answer the question incorrectly. Throughout the entire game, even if you don't reach the $25,000 level, you get to keep any $1,000 tokens you earned from players using your correct answers to save themselves.

5. Win the Game

The winner is the first player to win $1,000,000 by correctly answering all 11 questions. If no one is able to answer all 11 questions, the players add up their tokens and the amount they won on the money spaces (assuming they reached the minimum level of $25,000). Whoever has the most money wins.

Smarter Game Pieces

The Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? board game is easy to set up. It includes:

  • 300 question cards
  • A card reader sleeve
  • 2 game boards
  • 4 money marker pawns
  • 10 grade markers
  • 2 cheat pawns
  • 1 save pawn
  • 12 $1,000 tokens
  • Pad and pencils
  • Card tray
  • Instructions

Tips for Customizing the Game

There are times when you may want to vary the rules of the game to fit different ages or situations.

  • Shorten the game: Change the rules so that you only have to answer five questions correctly before you're allowed to answer the bonus question for a million dollars.
  • Lengthen the game: Change the rules so that a player must answer two questions correctly before they can move to the next space.
  • Make it easier: If you're playing with younger ages or players who need special assistance, you can give extra Peek, Copy, or Save card opportunities to those players. You can also change the rules so that you're only answering questions from grades one through three.
  • Make it more difficult: You can remove all "help" cards (Peek, Copy, and Save) and change the rules so that all questions must come from the fifth grade category.

Remember to Have Fun

Use this game as an educational opportunity, not a brutal competition. It's a great chance for kids to learn or review basic grammar school subjects such as math in home, school or home schooling settings. Many of the questions are challenging for adults too and may give you a humbling fifth grade refresher.

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Guide to the Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Board Game