Here’s a quick idea for a lesson starter/plenary. The idea is to give the students 5 quickfire questions and a set, short, time limit to answer each one.

The way you can do this will be slightly different whether you have a Smartboard or an ActivBoard

Promethean Version

1. On page 1 write/type your first question.
2. Put another question on page 2, 3, 4 etc
3. Go back to page 1
4. Click on the Clock icon from the ActivStudio toolbar. Select Count Ddown from the list.
5. Set the time you want each question to be shown. In the example below I have chosen 30 seconds.
6. You can set a sound to play at the end of each time limit. Click on the drop down arrow to choose a different sound.
7. In the second drop down, choose “Turn to next page”.
8. Make sure the Repeat box is checked. This will make the clock work on every slide rather than just the first one.
9. Then click OK


What will happen is that the first question will be displayed and the clock will start counting down. When it reaches zero, the sound will play and ActivStudio will immediately turn to the second question. This will repeat for all the questions you have written.

SmartBoard version

Smart Notebook does have a countdown timer, but it does not turn the pages automatically.

You can find the timer in the gallery in several places. Check under – Essentials for Educators – Mathematics – General Resources – Tools. Drag the timer from the gallery onto your 5 question pages.

Set each clock to Count Down and set the time to 30 seconds.

Once the clock has counted down, move to the next page. You will have to do this manually.

Quick Tips

Smart Quick Tip #1 – If you use the Timer a lot, it is well worth dragging it into your My Content area of the gallery so you can find it quicker.

Smart Quick Tip #2 – You can search the gallery by keyword. So a quick way to find the timer would be to type the word Timer into the search box at the top of the gallery. All the items that have a keyword of Timer will be returned in the search.

General Tip #1 – If you want to set up the questions during a lesson and you do not want the students to see them before you are ready, You can use the Blank or the Freeze button on the remote control to hide what you are doing until you are ready.