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Activities for the mind and body.

As we all know, children have vivid imaginations, so why not capitalize on this and use it to our advantage in the classroom! The Airplane Game is an activity that uses a child's imagination to enhance and support a number of academic lessons. For this particular case, we chose to use it for a social studies and/or geography lesson. If you and your students have studied a particular region, country, city, or state, why not "fly" to that area in your own personal airplane? First, the students will need to place their "airplane" in the take-off/landing position. (Students should be on their hands and knees, which is also known as the modified push-up position.) When the teacher gives the command "Rev your engines," each student will do several modified push-ups to "rev" the engine of his or her airplane. (The teacher should encourage children to mimic the sound of a revving engine to enhance the scenario and use his or her own judgment as to how many times each student "revs" his/her engine by doing push-ups.) Once engines are "revved," students should spring to their feet and begin to "fly" toward their destination (circling the classroom, gym, etc. at their own pace) with arms outstretched, like the wings of an airplane. After a brief flight, have students "land" and resume the take-off/landing position. After a brief layover to get more fuel, students should "rev" their engines once again and take-off for the return flight home. Once all airplanes have landed at the home airport, use this point in the activity to discuss with students what interesting things they discovered or learned on their flight to the new region. It is also important to inform the students that by revving their engines (push-ups), they gain strength in their arms and upper bodies and by "flying" (fast walking or jogging), they improve the function of their hearts and lungs (cardiovascular endurance). By using the terms "revving" and "flying," we avoid the obvious fact that students are actually doing push-ups and running!


Note: Other lessons that may be supported by The Airplane Game include states and their capitals, time and distance lessons, and how air travel and technology have improved access to all areas of the world. (Teachers can use their imaginations to think of other lessons that can be supported by this game.) By making a few changes, this activity can be transformed into The Driving Game (where students "drive" to a destination) or The Boat Game.

Time frame: 5 to 10 minutes.

--Shirley and Stan Andrews, Valdosta State University

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Title Annotation:Fitness Focus
Author:Andrews, Shirley; Andrews, Stan
Publication:Childhood Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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