Most adults were very active as children. We played a variety of different games at recess, and we participated in various sports throughout middle and high school. However, as any teacher can see, our students aren’t getting as much physical activity. Nowadays, kids are less interested in outdoor games and more interested in online games. I’ve experienced it first-hand as a teacher. At a recent staff meeting, a fellow teacher commented, “Kids don’t know how to play anymore.” I thought that there had to be a way to try to change that, so I set out to find a way to use this problem in my STEM classroom.
My students started out by researching several ways that exercise improves health. They were then put in groups of three and given the task of creating their own outdoor game. I provided them with supplies such as cones, balls, and chalk. These students had to use the engineering design process in their project. After getting a mental idea of their game, they had to write down instructions and rules. They then had to create an instructional video on their game. The videos had to include what the game was, the rules/object of the game, and a mini demonstration. Student teams then tested their game design with other teams and found ‘flaws’ in their instructions and made improvements to their design. As a culmination, the teams had to teach their game to groups of second graders.
On the day that students presented, I was reminded of the need to actually teach students how to play when multiple students at one station didn’t know how to do a jumping jack. To watch the 6th graders teach the concept of ‘play’ warmed my heart. After hearing the laughs and seeing the tiredness of both the second graders and sixth graders, I truly feel students became more aware of both how to ‘play’ and how much fun playing can actually be!
Kidblog then became a helpful tool in making sure that students had access to the games/instructions for the rest of the year. My STEM students posted their instructions ‘publicly’ on Kidblog. In this way, students have continual access to the instructions, and teachers can use the instructions as a tool to help students continue to learn what it means to ‘play’.
Even though I have always felt that kids need to be more active, it was fun being able to use STEM and Kidblog to help kids be reminded of the fun of ‘play’!