Head of the Class

Introduction:

The initial version of this activity was created by my colleague and Manchester District Teacher of the Year, Evan Chekas.  He used it to review the concepts of "Neolithic" and "Paleolithic," as it is written below.  In watching him, I realized that this activity could be used  with virtually any educational or counseling topic. 

 

Props:

Poly spots (or gym spots or paper plates), questions for the topic of your choice, index cards with the possible responses to the questions.

 

Set Up:

  • Arrange poly spots in four rows, each row being a different color.  There should be as many columns as there are students participating.  For example, if there are eight students, there should be a row of 8 blues, then a row of 8 reds, 8 yellows and 8 greens in a grid that is four by eight with spots being roughly one normal walking step apart.

  •  Place a single poly spot beyond the rows for you (the facilitator or teacher) to stand on.

  • All students stand behind the poly spots opposite where you are as the teacher.

  • Each student is given two oversized index cards.  One says “Neolithic” and the other “Paleolithic.”

  • Make sure you have a precreated list of questions that can be answered with one of the two terms above.  For example, “during which time period did farming arise?”

 

The Action:

  • The teacher asks a question of the group.  Each person shows the index card with the answer they believe is correct.

  • Anyone who is correct will step forward one spot.  Anyone who is incorrect will remain where they are.

  • Once any students answer five questions correctly, thus getting past the final row, the player(s) who is currently in last place exits the grid.  This player can continue to answer questions, however, they may choose to answer incorrectly to throw off active players.  Active players can decide whether or not to trust them.  Rounds continue until there is only one player left and they are dubbed champion.

  • Alternatively, you can have the player who reaches the end first exit and become the one showing correct or incorrect answers and continue until everyone has completed the rows.

 

The Debrief:

I watched the game play out.  The kids bought in completely.  It was clear that they were not only reviewing previously learned information but gaining new knowledge when asked to generalize information they had already learned.  I used this activity with my night school (expulsion program) counseling groups.  I gave each person four index cards with “A,” “B,” “C” and “D” on them.  These represented answers to multiple choice questions about teen statistics.  For example, “On a recent survey of 12-17 year olds across the USA, what percentage admitted to using alcohol within the past month?  Is it A- 3%, B- 6%, C-9% or D-12%?” 

Team Building