Purpose: The purpose of this activity is to help build a sense of classroom community and to give children an opportunity to practice their detective skills. In this activity, children will use observation, reasoning, and logic in order to identify the leader of the game.
Materials: A group of people (size of 7 or more is ideal) and enough space in which to form a large circle.
1. Have the students stand in a circle and tell them that they are going to play a game.
2. Tell the students how the game is played:
– The teacher will choose one student to leave the circle and temporarily exit the room.
– Out of the remaining students, the teacher will pick one student to be the leader. The leader’s job is to perform gestures (i.e. clapping hands, stomping feet, snapping fingers, etc.). The rest of the group will copy the gestures that the leader makes. The leader will change the gesture he/she is performing every 10-15 seconds. Every time the leader changes the gesture, the other students will also change and perform that same gesture.
– After the leader starts performing the first gesture, the teacher will signal the student who had exited the room to come back in and stand in the center of the circle. This student is the detective. The detective’s job is to observe the other students and identify which student is the leader. The detective will have three guesses to correctly identify the leader.
– After the detective either correctly identifies the leader or uses up all three guesses, the teacher will pick a new detective and a new leader and play another round of the game.
3. After playing a few rounds of the game, bring the student back into the circle. Discuss with them what strategies they used effectively for each role (i.e. detective, leader, and group member).
Lesson Extension Idea: This activity stresses skills of observation. Because skills of observation are important in the subject area of science, this game can easily be connected to a mini science lesson. To accomplish this, the teacher can frame the activity in the context of the scientific method. Like a student using the scientific method, a detective in the game must also form a hypothesis (a guess about the leader), test that hypothesis (watch and observe the person to see if he/she changes the gestures), and draw a conclusion (identify or rule out that person as the leader).