One of my most recent lessons required students to understand how cold environments can be managed effectively. There was a large amount of content I wanted each student to get through during the lesson, all of which needed to be written into their exercise books in order to aid their revision.
My initial idea was to conduct an information race, and this is where my inspiration started. All students were given a range of information sheets discussing various management strategies for cold environments, including advantages and disadvantages. In addition a separate question sheet was also provided, with a total of twenty two questions.
However I wanted students to engage with this activity more positively, seems as in its simplest format they were answering questions in their exercise book using information provided which is not very riveting. Therefore each student, before starting the activity, was handed a race car which was placed on the start line of the race track on the whiteboard. Each student was instructed to get up after answering each question in their exercise book and move their car around the race track to show the teacher which question they were on (See images below).
I can honestly say I have never seen each and every student more engaged, even those with behaviour concerns! I even had a number of more able students (boys and girls) making race track noises as they moved their cars around the track, which was brilliant as it clearly showed how engaged they were. Even the low ability students made progress throughout this activity as their questions were scaffolded and structured in relation to the information they had to use. Whereas the more able students were given questions which required more detail through the use of command words such as explain, analyse, discuss.
Overall, this idea is easily adaptable for a variety of tasks. It is engaging for each and every student (especially BOYS!) as it clearly incorporates an element of challenge and competition. It is also a great way to demonstrate progress throughout an activity, as you can visually see where each car is on the track and therefore the teacher can target specific students whose car is lagging behind.
The race track can be easily adapted to include more or less questions depending on the content you wish each student to learn. On the other hand who is to say it needs to be a car race track, it could be a running race track (see below).
And seems as the questions are on a separate hand out, they could be subtly differentiated to avoid detection from other students by including scaffolding, stretch and challenge and even changing the question order.
Want to see more strategies to track progress click HERE!
Otherwise access these race track progress template for FREE… HERE!