Do you remember those magazine quizzes in the 90s? Anyone? Buehler? Well, I do. That is where this idea started and for years now, my students have absolutely gone nuts for these survival activities. Why? I’ll tell ya.
Everyone participates. It’s unique. Everyone has an opinion. No-one has any actual experience. No-one has to talk! So you’re involved without having to actively come out of your shell. It doesn’t matter who you are, how popular you are, or whether or not you’re a typical “school” kid. Everyone is on the same playing field. So how do I do it?
Since we’re coming up on back-to-school season, I’ll explain my Lost in the Amazon. You begin by reading a dramatic story to your class. Make sure you have YouTube ready, because sound effects help create the atmosphere! The story begins with students on an airplane flight over the Amazon. (Turn on thunderstorm background). A storm rolls in, trouble ensues. The plane crashes. Students place their heads down on their desks. (Change sounds to the amazon rainforest). When they wake up the next day, they discover they are the lone survivor of the crash. After a survey of the area, and given some scientific information about the Amazon, students gather 15 items and discover they can only carry three items on their trek out. Which three items would you choose? (Items are provided – they are typed up and you have cut them out ahead of time for students to “search” through).
The background research has been done for you. I’ve compiled data from multiple articles on Amazon survival. With a little artistic license, I had created the list of 15 items. Once students have chosen their 3 items, go ahead and take some time to discuss. Have students defend their choices.
Now comes the fun part. Go through the provided PowerPoint and see how many points each item is worth. You need a certain number of points to survive. Less points tell you how long you survived.
These activities are great because NO ONE has ANY experience! Everyone is on a level playing field. You can participate without talking. As a teacher, you gain insight into critical thinking skills and verbal communication skills.
Check them out. Be the cool teacher this year.