Hello friends! On Friday we had SUCH a fun day! The first grade teacher and I had asked our principal if it would be alright to “transform” our campus into “Mario World” for a day of rigorous academic fun. Luckily for us, she enthusiastically said YES and we were able to pull off an absolutely fantastic day for our kindergarten and first grade students.
To begin, we decided that we wanted to have three activities for our students to complete. We decided on Mario Kart, an “underground” level, and collecting gold coins. We wanted to be able to have both groups of students go through each area and be challenged on their academic levels so we came up with activities that could be differentiated. The ultimate goal of the day was to earn 1,000 gold coins to defeat Bowser.
We set up a rotation so our students could travel to the three different levels at different times collecting gold coins. For Mario Kart, we set up posters in the gym with the numbers 1-20 on them. We each filled out about 300 cards of problems for our students to complete at this challenge.
The cards above show some examples of problems my kindergarteners were given for this challenge.
To begin the level, I paired up my students and gave each group a baggie full of 18 cards and a scooter. Their job was to work together to solve their problems and then post them on the correct posters. To get to the poster, they would have to push their friend/ ride on their Mario Kart (scooter).
For each correct problem, we earned coins towards defeating Bowser.
For 35 minutes my young mathematicians worked hard to solve their equations! They were determined to get as many gold coins as possible!
They used manipulatives to solve and check their work. In the gym, I placed life size ten frames and a number line. They were able to use all of their resources to solve their problems.
They had a BLAST doing this!
The next challenge was our underground level. After school the night before our Mario Day, I asked for a few parents to come in to help me transform the classroom. To make the room look like it was “underground,” we blacked out the room with black butcher paper. Then I added a few child sized tents and tunnels that I own and added two black lights to really make the room glow.
At this level, students were given a packet of math problems and a highlighter. In the tents were ping pong balls with the numbers 1-20 written on them. Each student was put on a team of 5 and then took turns going in the tents to find an answer to one of the equations they completed. I told the students that their job was to try to complete as many problems as they were waiting for their turn to go in the tent.
They worked hard to solve as many problems as they could!
When they went in the tent, they looked for the sum or difference of the last problem they solved. If they would not find it, they would call out to their team, “can you tell me another number I need to find?” and hunt for that ping pong ball.
It was so great to watch the kids work collaboratively and to try their best.
At the end of this “level” they earned over 120 gold coins!
Our last station was our gold coin sight word challenge. For this, we hung up sight word gold coins all over our courtyard. To make them, we simply wrote the words using Sharpies on plastic gold plates.
To play, each child had brought in a water gun and they raced around the courtyard looking for specific sight words. Once they found them, they squirted them with water.
As you can imagine, this was A HUGE HIT!!!
It was such a hit that we were scheduled to be outside for 30 minutes but ended up at this level for 45 minutes! (We had extra time so it worked out perfectly!)
The kids LOVED every minute!
If you would like to see what this day looked like in action, I made a quick video to show you what it looked like as it was happening!
In order to make this event a success, a month before it was happening, I emailed my parents asking them if they would be willing to contribute ping pong balls, 2 black lights, and the gold plates. I also enlisted their help to set it up. They were so happy to help contribute to this fun day!
In the end, we defeated Bowser and my students were BEYOND excited! 🙂
It truly was a magical day.