A field trip to the bowling alley is an opportunity to address many academic standards. Some may think a field trip just a fun day, but it can also be an occasion to learn. Truthfully, that’s how it started. However, after you read today’s post I think you’ll see that this field trip may be one of the most productive and educational events in our calendar.
One great opportunity for learning in relation to our bowling field trip is to teach students how to calculate speed. First, teach students the formula for calculating speed, which is distance / time = speed. Then set up your own classroom bowling alley. You can use plastic bowling pins (check with your P.E. teacher) or create your own pins with 2-Liter soda bottles. Substitute a rubber ball in place of a bowling ball, the kind you might use in dodge ball works well. I had students work in teams of 4 – one person was responsible for measuring the distance with a measuring tape, another student was the timer, the third student performed the calculation and the fourth student checked the calculation. Students then rotated, changing responsibilities and completing their lab sheet.
As a variation, you could use several carpet sample squares and cover the bowling “lane” with carpet before recalculating speed. This allows your students to investigate the effect of friction. You can then compare the speeds between the two surfaces and write a brief paragraph describing the effects. Finally, we watched a Magic School Bus video from United Streaming called Magic School Bus Plays Ball, which also focuses on the impact of friction. In conclusion, students completed a brief video report about what they had learned from the video.
Math + Bowling = Fun
There are LOTS of math skills that can be reinforced with bowling. Once you teach students how to score a bowling game, they can calculate the average score for a team or individual player. Also, since ten pins are used in bowling, you can have students translate the number of pins knocked down in relation to the number standing into fractions or decimals. Pins can also be arranged in an array representing different multiplicative equations. I like to give my students a scoring form and have them practice scoring with our classroom bowling alley as practice. It’s a great way to reinforce their adding and subtracting, while also preparing them for our field trip. Even though the bowling alley has a computer system and screens that automatically keep score, I think it’s a good idea for students to understand the process. For further practice, Mr. Nussbaum’s website has a fun math game based on bowling.
Before leaving for any field trip, I always like to have a Class Meeting with my students. I take the opportunity to review our school’s behavior expectations and remind them that we are representing our school. We discuss our behavior expectations on the bus, at the bowling alley, purchasing items from the concessions counter and other locations throughout the trip. At this point, I often share a field trip guidelines handout for students to take home and discuss with their families before our field trip.
Being a Good Sport
This is also a good time to discuss good sportsmanship while bowling, such as taking turns and being an encouraging teammate. United Streaming has a short 4-minute video called Got Empathy? It’s an excellent resource for reminding students (in the context of bowling) of the importance for showing understanding towards others of differing abilities.
Reflecting on a Field Trip
I always like to follow-up a guest speaker or field trip with some sort of reflection on our learning. For the past two years, that has taken the form of a post on our class website. I write a post with questions designed to facilitate student’s thinking about the experience, and they submit their comments in answer to the questions. If you don’t have a class blog set up, consider using a field trip reflection form instead.
Addressing Academic Standards Through a Field Trip
In order for a field trip to be approved in my district, it must first be shown to address academic standards. Our bowling field trip may seem like just a fun day out of the classroom, but by following these activities in today’s post, you can address a wide variety of standards in science, math, writing, reading and listening/speaking. You can also address social and behavior skills through some of these activities, too. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s also fun and gets kids moving!