Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Kinesthetic Time Travelling.......

At the weekend, I read this interesting article Why kids need to move to learn and thought about how I could get my kids to use their bodies to measure elapsed time. So, I came with a game which I hoped would serve the following purposes:

° provide an opportunity to mentally measure elapsed time away from visualising on paper

° give kids a chance to learn kinesthetically

° take learning outside our classroom

° have some fun whilst learning maths

After explaining the body movements for the game (see pic), I explained we are in the year 2015 and in a time machine.  We are about to travel back in time and you need to try to work out what year we have travelled to.  

We made silly time machine noises and I told them to travel 1 millennium back in time.  They all made a huge leap.  In their minds, they were asked to think what year they are in now.  Next, they needed to travel 3 centuries back in time. At each jump they should think what year they are at.  Then, they took 2 heel-to-toe steps back to show 2 x decades. Think: what year are you in?  Then, they tip-toed 6 years.

Giving everyone time to think, we then each shared what year we thought we had travelled back to.

Since we had travelled back 1 326 years, we were in the year 689 A.D.

We tried this a few times till I felt they understood the body movements and the thinking needed occasionally taking them back into B.C.

Then, it was time for them to take control of their own learning.  Partner A had to think of a year back in time. They told Partner B how many leaps, jumps, steps or tip-toes they needed to take, after, of course, making a silly time machine noise! When finished, they asked Partner B what year they thought they were in.  They both then discussed whether both of them had been successful and if not, what had happened. 

It became an interesting observational assessment as I noticed which students were confident in heading way back into B.C, which preferred to travel back only a few hundred years and which were confident in taking the numbers below the thousand or hundred mark easily.  

After a regroup to share strategies or difficulties we might have faced, I asked them to come up with a way we could play the same game but to help us practise measuring elapsed hours and minutes. 
They came up with the body movements (see pic).

This time though, we moved forward in time. 
We practises a few games together till I felt they were confident in doing it with their partners.

Eg, It was 2:45 and they took 3 leaps forward.  Think in your mind what time it is now.  Next, take 3 jumps.  Think: what time is it now? Now make 4 heel-to-toe steps. Think: what time is it now? Finally, move 4 tip-toes.

Everyone shared what time we thought it was and when we agreed we practised another game. 

After they played the game with the partner, we reflected on strategies we used in our minds.  A few children shared that they felt the number line practise we have been doing in class recently has really helped them to visualise when measuring time and so it is becoming a lot easier for them.

As we were finishing off, one student suggested we try an even bigger challenge by combining the years and the hours!! 

You can't ignore excited cheers, so we got back in our 'time machines' and travelled back 2 453 years and 2 hr 45 min.  We did it slowly and we all arrived at the same time!  

I wondered if we had done this on paper, whether we would have had an equal 100% success rate at such a complicated problem to solve.  I don't think we would have.  There must be a lot of truth in how engaging and helpful to learning moving our bodies is especially with maths. 

I also reflected on how I doubt I would have ever thought of combining the two games: years and hours, but when you constantly give children the control over their own learning, they can take themselves to really interesting and creative avenues to challenge their own thinking.  

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