Mario Kart Week 1

This is a follow-up to last week’s blog post where I say where I stole lots of my ideas from 🙂

So…

Year 4 (and me!) have had so much fun this week starting our topic all about Mario Kart. I have already noticed the increased engagement of many of the children, mostly the quiet but good children that don’t say a lot, well, they now say loads. Hands up galore. It’s amazing what can happen when you find a topic that really catches the children’s attention. I need to work on this with other topics and get the children this excited every time.

We started off the week listening to a piece of music without knowing where it came from (although many of them guessed as the Wii was already in the classroom) and imagining what kind of place it would suit. Turned out the music was from Bowser’s Castle. We then moved on to describe Bowser’s Castle from a picture before the children worked in pairs to describe another Mario Kart world using adjectives and similes, their task being that we could guess which world was being described just from the description. The writing produced has been fantastic! Their description was really detailed and some children produced writing of a level much higher than usual which was great. The children also loved this bit as they actually got to play on the game to look at their worlds. The only problem is keeping them all on task while they take it in turns to go on the game as they all want to go first and keep asking when it’s their turn! On the whole though they we’re very patient.

From our pictures and descriptions we then thought about the atmosphere of each world and created collaged mood boards to go with them. Mood boards are posters that create a feeling or emotion so if the children thought their Mario Kart world was scary they had to recreate that in their mood board just by using different colours and textures. Some of the children did struggle with this concept at first and wanted to recreate a picture of their world but most got the idea after we looked at some examples. Once they got the idea, they got on fantastically and the results are really good. They will be used to inspire our own imaginary world stories in a couple of weeks.

Today we started looking at the different characters in the game and how they would be affected by the different worlds. We decided that Bowser would be quite relaxed in his own castle but really wouldn’t like it on Shy Guy Beach and might get quite aggressive in that environment. On the other hand, Princess Peach would be terrified in Bowser’s castle but would have a lovely time at the beach relaxing and sunbathing. The children then created short role-plays, taking on the characters of Bowser and Princess Peach, and thought about facial expressions, tone of voice and the behaviours of the characters. They really got into this activity (some Bowsers a little too much :D) and hopefully can use this to help create their own characters next week.

Finally, we looked at the forces involved in making go karts move. We thought a lot about pushes, pulls twists and the children had remembered a lot from when they did forces in year 2. Therefore I might not spend as much time on this if I were to do it again and move on to looking at friction more quickly. We also had a mini side discussion about gravity, magnets and then what was inside the earth (based on the children’s questions) which was good as I’m not normally good at going off on a tangent. We even came back round to Mario Kart as one of the children linked lava in the mantle to lava around Bowser’s castle.

All in all a very successful first week using the Wii and I think everyone has really enjoyed it. Year 4 have certainly impressed me with their work this week and have been a lot more responsive. Here’s hoping for many more fantastic weeks and another thanks to all the people who have given me Mario Kart-related inspiration 🙂

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2 Responses to Mario Kart Week 1

  1. This is great Emma, demonstrating the effectiveness of games based learning by using the game as an instigator, the starting point. I think some teachers I talk to about games based leaning think I want them to just play a game for every lesson. However, when they see that a game can be used as the focal int, the introduction or even at the end of the lesson their thinking comes round to seeing how the game can be used effectively. Your post will be one that I draw on when I’m asked for examples of games based learning.

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