One of the most downloaded and commented on activities of all of my posted activities was an old post about a 4th grade YICA based game built around the “directions” unit. In the YICA directions unit, they want the kids to actually navigate each other around a room, play acting taxis. But, it sucks. They never want to do it. So, I subbed a board game.
It was so successful, I dumbed it down for the 2nd graders similar lesson on directions. Then, adapted that new version of the board game that I used for the 2nd graders back to the 4th graders. Here’s the update to the update on that old concept.
The rules are the same.
This game is played by two kids. Effectively, one kid is the taxi following directions, and the other the rider rolling the dice and giving directions. I list these two roles at the top of the board as a “game player” and “game controller”.
The kid rolling the dice speaks, the kid moving the taxi does what they say. If the taxi arrives at a building, the kid moving the taxi gets “paid” by getting a point. They write a “+1” down at the bottom of the paper, on their side of the “GAME SCORE” section. If the taxi hits a tree, they’re penalized and have to write “-1” in their section of the score box.
Whenever the dice comes up “STOP”, the taxi kid and dice kid trade places. This goes on, back and forth, until the taxi “drives” off the edge of the game board. Then, the game is over. Tally your points. The kid who wins the best of three games is the grand champ and gets a prize.
In this game, one kid is always speaking English, the other listening and following what they say. And, it switches up randomly through the game so the kid more confident in their skills can’t dominate the game.
Even my wild classes loved this game. When I added katakana to the dice (sorry), even the class clowns used the English. I print the taxis and dice on light card stock to make them more durable. I have the kids assemble their own dice to make my life easier. I tell them to use tape because glue takes too long to dry and is super messy. In the demo game, I use two different colored markers to score the game to drive home that each player earns points separately, when it’s their turn.