My First-Grade classes were in need of a couple of team-building lessons. I needed a way to reinforce working together, no matter who the partner was, taking turns, and communicating in a kind manner. At the same time, we were in the midst of a throwing and catching unit. At this point, DESTROIDS was born.
The story is based on NASA’s successful attempt to change the direction of an asteroid, which could someday help to prevent collisions with Earth. See the story below.
DESTROIDS in Action
Line up several sets of six hula hoops with a poly spot in the middle.
Place a poly spot several feet from each set of hoops. This is where students will launch their asteroid defense craft. The distance depends on grade level and/or throwing ability.
On a whiteboard or chalkboard, make a column for each team. This will serve as the place to keep track of the number of redirected asteroids.
Place a marker or piece of chalk by the board for teams to tally the number of asteroids they redirect.
How to play:
Create groups of 3. I randomly make the groups to ensure students aren’t simply working with their closest friends. After all, we want students to be willing and able to work with everyone.
After discussing the mission, students begin to construct an asteroid (hula sphere) TOGETHER.
Once their asteroid is complete, the group takes turns throwing a gator ball at the asteroid.
Each time the asteroid is completely destroyed, the thrower who destroyed it runs to the board and gives her group a tally.
Make sure teams are taking turns throwing the ball.
I play for 5-10 minutes.
When time expires, we gather around the board. Together we count the tallies to see how many total asteroids were redirected.
This is also the time to process the cooperative challenge. Processing is an important step that must NOT be skipped. It gives students a chance to voice what worked well, what has room for improvement, group dynamics, strategy, and how they dealt with success and failure.
I was so impressed by the overall teamwork during this game. It was also a fun way to reinforce throwing skills. 2 Birds, and 1 stone!