It is always a struggle for teachers to keep their students fully engaged throughout a class. The solutions don’t always have to be difficult. Sometimes the solutions are even fun.
Such is the case for the Grade 7 students in Mrs. Anderson’s and Mrs. Tarswell’s classes who had the opportunity to learn and play a game at the same time. Retired teacher Ann Elliot was the first to bring the concept of the game to Princeton after a Pro-D Day workshop and the idea was soon embraced by others. The Grade 7s at Vermilion Forks School are learning about the Earth’s crust. Their learning process was made into a Science Tournament. The top 8 science students picked teams and together each team prepared for the upcoming game.
After an intense study of their unit on the Earth’s crust the teams split apart to join other tables. Each table had one student from the team at it and each table was set up according to their academic level. The top eight science students for this particular study now had to compete against each other.
For four days, the students battle, cooperatively completing all the questions put before them collecting points for their team by competing against those at the same level as they are. “It is great for the kids,” said Anderson. “No one feels intimidated and that is a really big hurtle sometimes for some of them.”
Each team picked their own team name. The Crusty Rocks, the “Lead” Zeppellins, the . Each team member had focus.
“The game is a lot of work initially to set up,” stated Anderson, “but in the end it is well worth it. The game is social, but with a real purpose to it. It is fantastic how much the kids know and how prepared they are for the test at the end. The students are always quite surprised that they know so much.”
At the end the team members add all the points they have earned at their tables and bring them back to their team for a final tally. The team with the most points in the end then gets to choose a prize. “It is usually something tasty.”