Rubik's Cube Competition – This one is very popular so make sure you have enough cubes to cater for at least 10 people at a time. Have a reliable clock or stop watch at hand and a sheet of paper with the names of players and (fastest) times. Organize it over a couple of days: First round over maybe 3 days so that all students have the opportunity to play. Second round (the top x players with the fastest times) play during the next 3 days – depending how many there are and when they are able to come in and play. Our students kept playing and playing and improving their score – officially and unofficially. We didn't mind but you can, of course, make restrictions as to how many official times they can play and have it noted. Or you can incorporate a fee for every noted score. Our winner received a big block of chocolate.
Jelly Bean Competition – Another very popular competition. Borrow or buy a large glass jar with a glass lid. Fill it with jelly beans. It's handy to have student librarians or students who are willing to count them all because you need an exact number. Count the beans after the competition so as not to accidentally reveal the number of beans. If you have no idea you make it easier on yourself. Our jar was filled with 3.5 packets of jelly beans and full to the brim. Tape the lid with extra tape to make sure it can't be opened. Our competition ran for 2 weeks. Students used mathematics to figure out the number of beans by using a ruler, counting the top layer and multiplying it by the height of the jar etc. One student guessed within two beans of the total. The winner became owner of the Jelly Beans; packed in a nice bag with a bow.
Spot The Difference – Scan and save an image from a book or save a free drawing from the internet. Use Photoshop or Paint to alter a number of features. We used an image of Neil Gaiman's book 'The Sleeper And The Spindle' and changed 20 features. I had it checked by a colleague to make sure all the altered features were recognizable and fair. Use black and white images if you want to conserve on printing. Print lots of images – one of the original and heaps of the altered version and let the students have a go. If you make a blueprint of the original with little holes where the changes are you can easily trace them. The winner can have a book (I ordered an extra copy of Neil Gaimans's book) or voucher or block of chocolate. Or if you want to make an impression have the image printed on a canvas by one of those online shops.
Paper Planes Competition – We used this activity as a fund raiser. Use pages of culled books – same size and texture – and 'sell' them to the entrants. Each paper sheet needs to have their name on it. Organize a specific day (or two) to have the first 'fly off'. Use a bright colored tape on the floor to indicate where the start and where the finish lines are. The next day or next week you can organize the final 'fly off'. Some planes flew pretty far so you need to make sure you have enough space or relocate to a gym or auditorium for the finals. Two $20 vouchers to the movies was the winner's reward. The movie: 'Paper Planes' was launched at the same time and ignited our imagination for this activity. Imagine what you can do when the film 'The Martian is released in New Zealand (:-)
Filed under: General competitions and activities