First of all, I gotta give it up to my fabulous teammate for bringing this idea to us when she transferred in from another school. It's seriously genius.
Planning lessons to engage and motivate my kiddos is one of my favorite things to do. Seriously! Research shows that they are more likely to learn when they are engaged- we all know that. Beyond that, I just enjoy my day a lot more when we get to have fun! If the kids are happy, they are more likely to participate and listen. Motivation is especially important on test review day. Fifth grade is the first year of middle school in my district, so the kids are getting used to a higher level of independence. A great motivational and engaging review day activity is just what they need. Higher engagement and interest means better recall, which means better test scores. Win for everyone! So, what do I do? We play baseball!
To start, I project this image on my whiteboard. The kids are broken up into random groups, and each group is given a different color dry erase marker. I have a practice test, a bucket of numbers, and a bucket of "runs." This will make sense soon, I promise.
Each group comes up and chooses a number from the bucket. Whatever number they get is the problem we will all be working on from the practice test.
The choices are:
- Single - move one base
- Double - move two bases
- Triple- move three bases
- Homerun- score!
- Steal- steal the next base if you are already on base. If you were out last time, you can't steal!
- Out - your player is off the diamond and back to the dugout.
Here's where the diamond comes in. The designated hitter from the group draws their player on the correct base, depending on what they choose. This is totally their favorite part.
Since there are so many teams playing, it can look like the bases are loaded pretty easily. My kids that LOVE sports debated this with me for a while, because they thought they should get 3 points if they got a homerun. However, if the bases are loaded with other teams, I don't think that counts. :)
Every time a player reaches home, the scorekeeper records one point in the scoreboard. The game gets really exciting near the end, because depending on what a group draws they could win it all or lose it all in just one turn.
So, there it is! Test review with baseball. This game is a great way to help kids work collaboratively, ensure engagement, and practice for an upcoming test. I'm a big fan- and I hope you can use it in your classroom, too!