The games and presentations for this age group are mainly based around the notion of ‘planting seeds’. A full insight into the tenets of an NLRBE is not needed for this age range. The notions of collaboration and sharing should be the main themes to emphasize through fun and play, along with an exciting delivery of the possible problem solving capabilities that science and technology have to offer for human and environmental concern.
An alternative to the playing of the collaborative games below would be to use the prepared presentation or video below, without mentioning the movement:
The reason for adopting this approach is that doing so could make you come across as you ‘imposing’ your viewpoint on the Children (something Schools are often not in favour of). Perhaps this could be something that could be mentioned with the older end of this age range and this is obviously up to your discretion if this is appropriate or not.
It is worth bearing in mind that the following are just a few examples from a host of collaborative and problem solving exercises available online to take into schools, so please do feel free to search for further examples to use if you wish.
A learning environment
The learning landscape:
Whilst this example is based around competition the educational approach outlined shows a huge step in the right direction. With hands on activity based learning games based on Maths, to the layout of buildings, to community based projects, the ideas of project H show that you can build a far more healthy and happy learning environment, whilst providing a better standard of living for the surrounding community.
Language and communication
Write all the letters of the alphabet down on pieces of paper. Then fold the pieces of paper and put them into a bowl. Get the children to pick out a letter but not tell anyone what it is (they must also relinquish the pieces of paper after seeing them) and then they have to get themselves in a row alphabetically by communicating. You can do several rounds of this and time each one to see how quickly the Children can get in a row. In this game the children must learn to communicate, collaborate and work efficiently in order to beat their last time, rather than compete with each other to succeed.
For this game you will need to take 3 hoops and put them in a row at equal distances of a few metres apart. In the middle hoop you have an uneven number of bean bags and at the other hoops you have an even number of Children per side.
The rules are that you have to get as many bean bags in your teams hoop as possible and you’re only allowed to carry one bag at a time. Other than that anything goes, of course making sure that they do not to hurt each other in the process of course.
I have done this game myself and I am sure you can imagine the chaos that will ensue. Before long there will be bean bags up jumpers, throwing the bags from the middle hoop back to their own and all sorts.
Occasionally stop the game to count up the bean bags, and as the team with the most bean bags are cheering their supposed victory remind the opposite team that the game is not over and the chaos will begin all over again.
After a while, stop the game and ask them how long this could go on for, to which they will reply “forever”. Then ask what the solution is.
The only answer is to put all the hoops together and place the bean bags in the middle. The only way to win is to share.
Perhaps this point could be expanded upon to allude to our entire world and everyone in it briefly to make a lasting impression regarding the power that collaboration for human concern could have.
Out of the box thinking
Ball in a circle game:
For this game you need two tennis balls or similar.
Have the Children stand in a circle and start by throwing one of the balls to anyone. Then explain that each person needs to throw the ball to one other that has not yet
had it and the last person must to throw the ball back to you. If anyone drops the ball or throws it to the wrong person, you must start over.
Repeat this process a few times so they develop an order in which to throw the ball. When it flows fairly well, add a second ball and let them practice a few rounds with two balls going at the same time.
When you judge them ready, start timing them and explain that you now challenge them to finish the round quicker. This is where it starts to get interesting, as the frustration when someone is to slow or fails to catch or throw the ball start to grow.
After a while they get to a point when they cannot improve their time any further.
You then challenge them by saying that you know that they can have the balls progress through the chain of people in half the time.
The idea of the exercise is that they should realise that in order to achieve this they will need to think outside of the box and rearrange themselves in a line, in the order in which they pass the balls.
Then it is a matter of simply handing the balls down the line.
How long it takes for the group to figure this out varies. Sometimes it can be a very long process with lots of frustrations and conflicts along the way so if they don’t make any progress in a reasonable amount of time, a hint or two might be needed.
For this exercise you will need 3 short pieces of rope suitable for skipping. Hand these pieces of rope to three children.
The object of the game is for these children to each skip ‘properly’ 3 times in one minute.
The children will most likely attempt to use their individual lengths of rope to no avail. The object of the game is for them to work out that they must tie the lengths together. Then two of them hold an end each whilst the other skips 3 times in the middle. They swap places until everyone has skipped three times.
Obviously the time can be adjusted as you see fit.
After these games it is important to talk about what occurred, how they felt with the pressure of time limits applied and why it is so difficult and important to think outside of the box.
The abacus, also called a counting frame, is a calculating tool used primarily in parts of Asia for performing arithmetic. For further information on this tool please see this video:
This can be translated into a game by giving the children different bibs in the colour of the corresponding columns. Then, stand the Children in the necessary positions and then giving them a number to make. You only need to go up to the hundreds column for this age range.
If you have the resources to get an abacus or perhaps make some in the classroom, then this may inspire the children to practice in preparation for the next time you play the game outside with the bibs.
Space based games:
Getting kids to understand aspects of, and get excited about space enables them to have a broader perspective by which to appreciate our own planets place in the vast cosmic ocean. A useful documentary series to watch on this subject and others is Cosmos:
Interesting thought exercises such as the fact that some stars that we can see in the night sky may not actually exist anymore (this being due to the light taking so long to reach us that they could have burnt out by then) or just how fast light speed is can provide an amazing sense of wonder in the younger generations.
As an example of how fast light is I usually clap my hands a second apart and tell the kids that light would have gone round the Earth seven times in between those two claps! It may be helpful to discuss the size of the planet, as well as the experiment that can be carried out to prove it is round and how the distance can be calculated from this experiment (please see cosmos – episode 2 for more on this example).
All of this can help to start to give an impression of just how far away the stars are as well as an appreciation of the need to use the scientific method to arrive at conclusions in our understanding of our place in the universe. Be sure to make sure you use visualisation as much as possible rather than statistics.
The aim is to inspire and imagery is a far more powerful way by which to do this, rather than dry statistics or large numbers. A simple example may be to state that there are more planets in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth.
Space can be a fantastic topic by which to expand young minds but unfortunately here in the UK, deep space, the big bang and alike are not taught on the curriculum. It instead merely focusses on the solar system. Fantastic though our own planetary neighbourhood is of course, I find it better to start big and inspire awe and wonder, as well as divulging some of the remaining great mysteries that are yet to be solved and then the details should become more interesting.
Here is a power point presentation I give in Schools when space is the topic being discussed on the curriculum:
Before giving the presentation I usually show this short video:
And this site:
I have included a video of the presentation as well if you would prefer this route instead:
When I go to Schools to talk about space I also play the solar system game.
This uses coloured numbers on pieces of paper, corresponding to the colour of each planet. These are then stuck on the back of 9 chairs to represent the order of the planets from the sun (the first chair representing the Sun of course).
The kids then stand in a line in front of the chairs. I walk behind them and place a picture of a planet in their hand. Then I time how long it takes them to get behind the correct numbered chair which corresponds to the planet they have in their hand. It may be good fun to have one card as the Sun itself so that a Child gets to gloat in his or her awesome power in the solar system, if only for the briefest of moments J.
We then play the game several times, with the aim being to see if they can collectively beat their time. This helps to learn the order of the solar system, whilst providing exercise and helping to appreciate the value of collaboration.
Here are the files for you to print out for this game if you wish:
In discussing such issues it is very easy to use such a perspective to elucidate the importance of using our short life on this tiny mode of dust to promote health and happiness for all who live upon it.
Other science based games and activities
Below is the science museums website – games section. If any of these can be replicated and taken into schools then this would be a great way of engaging kids in the subject of science. There is also the opportunity to play these games online as well:
Here is another site with regards to an education in science for kids:
World peace game
This TED talk outlines the work of John Hunter who puts all the problems of the world on a 4’x5′ plywood board — and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages school kids, and why the complex lessons it teaches are spontaneous, and always surprising and how they go further than classroom lectures can.
To find out more please watch his talk:
The scientific method and the critical thinking, creativity and collaboration inherent to it are of the upmost importance to reinforce in the delivery of the train of thought necessary for an NLRBE.
Hopefully the materials contained for this age range will help towards delivering a sustainable train of thought to the next generation.
It is advised to have read through all the information in the activism section of this site before contacting, or going into any educational facility.
If however, you do require further help or advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch via the contact section of this site.