Home Activity

The Electric Company: Reverse-a-Ball Word Challenge

What's The Point

Francine’s Reverse-a-Balls have come to your neighborhood and are scrambling words and phrases all around your home. Challenge your child to unscramble them while building vocabulary, spelling, and math skills.

Related Game

Reverse-A-Ball – Francine is slamming Earth with her reverse-a-balls and scrambling up all the words. Find and turn off the reverse-a-ball machines, and unscramble the words.

This Activity Will Help Your Child

  • Build vocabulary and spelling skills
  • Create and use a bar graph
  • Use basic math to compare outcomes

Book Suggestions

  • Bar Graphs
    by Vijaya Bodach
  • Tiger Math: Learning to Graph from a Baby Tiger
    by Ann Whitehead Nagda


  • Printed materials such as newspapers, magazines, or advertisements
  • Scissors
  • Paper and pencil
  • Crayons or markers
  • Stopwatch

How Do I Do It?

  1. Gather printed material. Find five words, and cut out each word.
  2. Now cut out the individual letters. Keep the letters for each word in a separate pile on the table. Number the word piles 1-5.
  3. Shuffle the letters in each pile.
  4. Challenge your child to unscramble the words as fast as she can. Using a stopwatch or the second hand on a watch or clock, record her times unscrambling each pile.
  5. With your child, create a bar graph displaying the different times. Put the numbers for each word pile along the bottom of the graph (X-axis) and time increments in seconds up the side of the graph (Y-axis).
  6. Compare the words. Ask questions such as:
    • Which word took the longest amount of time to unscramble? Shortest?
    • How many more seconds did it take to complete the longest word scramble than the shortest?
    • How long did it take to unscramble all five piles (add up all the times)?

Take It Further

Switch roles. Have your child find his own five reverse-a-ball words for you to unscramble.

Instead of cutting apart words, try cutting apart 5-word phrases (such as: “Yesterday at the local pool…”). Take turns scrambling and unscrambling these word phrases.

Create the bar graph on a computer using a numbers processing program, such as Excel or Numbers. Invite your child to present her findings to you in an official “report” from Prankster Planet.