Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pin - the - ?? - on - the - ??

I like incorporating games into classroom instruction and one really easy way to make it transition seamlessly is to use games the students already know.

When reviewing Jacques Marquette and Robert La Salle's exploration of the Mississippi River for France, I wanted an engaging way to review which facts belonged to which explorer. I decided to play a version of Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey with "fact canoes" in place of tails and a Mississippi River with images of the explorers in place of the donkey.

I was a little leery that the kids would find it too juvenile, but we ended up having a blast! I presented each fact and asked the student whether the fact belonged with Marquette or La Salle. They responded, then they were blindfolded, took their spins and attempted to stick the canoe in the river with the explorer that matched.

The set-up was really simple -- I typed up some images of canoes with facts, pictures of the explorers and I cut out a long construction paper river. I attached the pieces to the whiteboard with magnets for easy removal when other teachers needed to use my classroom. The game only lasted about 10-15 minutes, but it was a fun way to wrap up after the notes and video segment we completed at the beginning of class.

Of course, this got me thinking about all of the things that could be "pinned" onto something else. Younger students could sort shapes and colors into a chart. They could place letters in a puzzle. Older students could pin the element to the periodic table or the organelles to the cell. The possibilities are endless!


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