Some might call them cootie catchers, to others they are fortune tellers, but to US, they are an amazing way to review classroom material!  These are hands-on study tools that get secondary students active and engaged in their learning plus they’re really fun to use too!

Explain It: Fortune tellers are a great tool for hands-on studying. Students can make their own, you can provide one that’s complete, or you can offer one with questions only so students search for the answers in their notebooks or by discussing with their table mates and finish the cootie catcher. When they’re done, just follow the instructions to fold them and then use them:


To Fold Them:
  1. Cut out the fortune teller along the outermost lines.
  2. With the paper blank side up, fold the outer corners inwards and crease along the line until they meet in the middle of the sheet and make a square.
  3. Fold the outer corners of the new square backwards along the line until they meet in the middle of the sheet and make another smaller square with the questions on the outside and answers on the inside.
  4. With the questions face up, fold the square in half both ways, making sure to crease the paper to get a nice fold.
  5. Open the square back up so that the main words are face up.
  6. Lift the flaps and squeeze the corners until they touch in the center

To Use Them:

  1. Students can work by themselves or with a partner to study using their fortune teller.
  2. Start by picking one of the four words on the outside of your fortune teller.
  3. For each letter that makes up the word, open and close the fortune teller until you reach the last letter of the word.
  4. The questions that are visible on the last letter will serve as the questions the student can choose from.
  5. Pick a question out of the four that are visible.
  6. Answer the question aloud or in your head.
  7. Check your answer by opening the flap.
  8. Close the fortune teller and start again!
Once students know how to use them, hand them out throughout the year and incorporate them into your daily or weekly classroom activities because they can be used in a variety of ways.
Need to Modify? Here are just a few ways you can use cootie catchers or fortune tellers in your secondary classroom:
  • Use one set at a station or print the entire unit for a station rotation unit review day
  • Provide them at student tables at the beginning of your class as bellwork
  • Ask students a question from the fortune teller on their way out of your room as an exit ticket
  • After students have completed an assignment
  • For enrichment at the end of a lesson
  • For differentiation
  • Have students make their own
Want to give some fortune tellers a test drive? Try out our Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Cell comparison version. This lesson provides basic information about the characteristics of eukaryotes and prokaryotes. 

Cootie Catcher example

If you don’t have time to create your own, check out our  bundle of fortune tellers for life science vocabulary with over 140 vocabulary terms and their definitions. The set includes 18 fortune tellers with two differentiated versions for students to use (one with answers provided the other is blank so students provide their own answers), and they cover many the life science categories you might teach in class.

Happy teaching!

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