The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Metric Length Scavenger Hunt

After a grueling week of standardised testing, my fourth grade teaching partner and I knew we needed to give our students a chance to get outside and move around today. We made plans to have a combined-class celebration in the afternoon to watch a movie (something all of the students love being able to do!), but we wanted something else for the morning.

I came up with the idea of having our classes do a metric length scavenger hunt outside. The idea was really quite simple: We combined our two classes and then let the students work in groups of four or five. Each group was given a meterstick, a clipboard, a piece of paper, and a pencil. We went outside to our playground and had the groups find, measure, and record as many things as they could using the metric unit of length. They were given 25 minutes. A prize would be given to the group (or groups) that found the most items.

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Some of the groups wrote down numbers but no item names. These did not get counted in the final judgment for the prize(s). Other groups wrote item names but no measures. Again, while we know the students were measuring, they were not recording their data the right way. At the end, two groups tied: a group of four girls from my classroom and a group of four girls from the other classroom.

I was amazed at how smoothly this activity went! We have had some troubles with drama being created during less-structured activities, especially outside. When we talked about this activity, we knew we wanted it to be an opportunity for the students to build their “together stamina.” What we have realised is that the drama happens when there is freedom of choice in activities, but when the students have a specific task to do for a specific amount of time, the drama all goes away! Instead of small arguments and hurt feelings, all of the students in both classes were running around, excitedly measuring everything and anything they could find, and none of them had any time to worry about what other people were doing! I am now feeling much more confident about the success of our combined class field trip to Springfield in five weeks!

Have a fabulous, restful weekend, everyone!

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