SQL Server Jeopardy for User Group Meetings

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As a SQL Server User Group Leader with Ray Barley, we are always looking for new ideas for our monthly meetings.  We have tried polls on LinkedIN and Meetup.  We have had some good feedback on formats, but we really want to have some fun as a group, give members more opportunities to connect and "pack the house".  Do you have any suggestions?  Check out this tip to learn about SQL Server Jeopardy.


At our recent Baltimore SQL Server Users Group meeting, we tried something a little bit different and our community seemed to enjoy the change of pace.  We had our first session of SQL Server Jeopardy.  SQL Server Jeopardy helped us achieve a few goals:

  • Change our consistent meeting formats
  • Give community members more time to chat and get to know one another
  • Freed up having to find a main speaker for the meeting
  • Share knowledge in an entertaining and new way
  • Build some teams within the group
  • Collaboration among team members to solve a problem
  • A few laughs here and there
  • ...and a $50 gift card to the winning team

So how did we do it?

  • We prepared a game board via PowerPoint with 4 different categories
    • Database Administration
    • Database Development
    • Business Intelligence
    • Potpourri
  • We prepared multiple questions from levels 100 to 500
  • We split the group into 3 teams
  • Each of the groups had to come up with a team name
    • ...and they were are pretty creative
  • Each team had a single point of contact to respond to the questions
  • I asked the questions and Ray selected which team raised their hand first in order to answer the question
    • We had some pandemonium with asking and answering questions, so our lessons learned is to just follow a round robin format rather than trying to judge who raised their hand first or forgot about the rules (because they were super excited) and yelled out the answer.
    • So here is how we plan on handling this the next time:
      • First team has control of the board
      • Ask the question
      • Give the first team a finite amount of time to answer
        • If they answer incorrectly award zero points then give the second team a finite amount to answer.
          • Repeat for each team until the question is answered correctly or all teams do not field a correct answer.
        • If a team answers correctly, then they get the points and the next team gets control of the board.
    • With each question we shared the correct answer and asked for community members to provide a brief explanation of the answer to share knowledge among the group
    • Once the question was answered, we deleted the number from "the board" in PowerPoint
  • In terms of recording scores, we added points for correct answers and subtracted points for incorrect answers.
    • This lead to some pandemonium as well.  I think our lesson learned for our next session of SQL Server Jeopardy is to just add points for correct answers and zero points for incorrect answers.
  • With about 5 minutes remaining in our meeting we moved to the "Final Round" of SQL Server Jeopardy
    • Here is what we did:
      • We provided a general topic for the "Final Round" question
      • Each team chose how many points they wanted to bet then notified the remainder of the teams
      • We asked the final question
      • Gave all the teams about 1 minute to formulate an answer
      • Had each team present their answer
      • Crowned the first SQL Server Jeopardy Champions

SQL Server Jeopardy Board

Here is a screen shot of the starting board we had in PowerPoint:

SQL Server Jeopardy Board

Click here to download the sample SQL Server Jeopardy board.

SQL Server Jeopardy Questions

Our questions were all over the map in terms of the topic and the number of responses.  When we started off, we were not sure what sort of responses we would get, so we wanted to be open minded.  One of our lessons learned was to potentially select narrower topics to help determine the interest level.  We are thinking about throwing out some topics in a previous meeting to help find out the interest level and narrow down ideas before we hold our next SQL Server Jeopardy event.

Click here to download the sample SQL Server Jeopardy questions.

Next Steps
  • We hope this idea gives you some food for thought for your user group.  This was fun for us and we are thinking about another session sometime soon.
  • Check out all of the Professional Development tips on MSSQLTips.com.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Jeremy Kadlec Jeremy Kadlec is a Co-Founder, Editor and Author at MSSQLTips.com with more than 300 contributions. He is also the CTO @ Edgewood Solutions and a six-time SQL Server MVP. Jeremy brings 20+ years of SQL Server DBA and Developer experience to the community after earning a bachelor's degree from SSU and master's from UMBC.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Comments For This Article

Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 10:32:17 AM - Bob Franzese Back To Top (35958)

Love the idea, Jeremy, sorry I missed this one. Years ago, I got a buzzer system that came with a cheap board game I picked up and I kept the buzzer years after I threw away the game. If you're going to do this again, perhaps a trip to Target or Walmart is in order?


Or just order this: http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Resources-LER3774-Answer-Buzzers/dp/B004DJ51HQ/ref=sr_1_1/175-1713352-9531605?ie=UTF8&qid=1421335819&sr=8-1&keywords=buzzers+for+games

Monday, September 16, 2013 - 2:12:05 PM - Jeremy Kadlec Back To Top (26824)


Thanks so much for the updates.

Thank you,
Jeremy Kadlec
MSSQLTips.com Community Co-Leader

Monday, September 16, 2013 - 12:15:59 PM - Chad Crawford Back To Top (26815)

Check out http://jeopardylabs.com.  They have a system that works pretty well and I've used it for class reviews (I'm teaching a few DB classes internally).  It's a pretty good interface and keeps track of the score for you.  I also picked up a buzzer set, if you're willing to shell out a little ($35), it's a nice additon:  Educational Insights Eggspert http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001SN8DE8/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1.  


I was thinking of doing something for our users group or a SQL Saturday, Your post gave me the motivation to put it together.



Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 12:50:02 PM - Richard Fohrenbach Back To Top (26607)

Cute idea. We had a ACE (Achieving Competitive Excellence) Jeopardy game at Sikorsly Aircraft back in 2004. (ACE is the "lean" Six Sigma-like program used by UTC (United Technologies Corp, the parent of Sikorsky, Otis, Pratt and Whitney etc)

Friday, August 9, 2013 - 12:09:19 PM - Jeremy Kadlec Back To Top (26187)


Great to hear it!

Thank you,
Jeremy Kadlec
Community Co-Leader

Friday, August 9, 2013 - 11:03:55 AM - Dustin Jones Back To Top (26183)

Great idea! I plan to do this in an upcoming meeting!



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