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Name of Activity:

Island Hopping

Purpose of Activity:

To teach students to use cooperation, communication, problem solving, and math skills.


Use the math problems that the students are currently working on in their math classes.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Different colored bean bags, balls, or other objects; equipment that is flat to stand on for the raft parts; cones or tape to mark off the island.

Description of Idea

Colored bean bags or balls are scattered around the gym floor (ocean). Each colored object represents a numerical value. For example:

Green bean bags = one dollar (or 100)
Blue bean bags = 25
Yellow bean bags = 10
Pink bean bags = 5
Red bean bags = 1

The students are divided randomly into small groups. The teacher writes a math problem on the board. The groups must discuss among themselves how to solve the problem. Once they know the answer they must use the pieces of their raft (any equipment that students can stand on: polyspots, bases, carpet squares) to transport every member of the group out into the ocean to collect the correct amount of valuables. If a member of the group falls off the raft, the group must start back at the island.

Once the students return to their island we discuss solving the problem and check the answers for each group.

Teaching Suggestions:

During closure, ask students to name someone in their group who was a good teammate and give reasons why. Students respond very well to hearing the positive things their peers say about them.

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Submitted by Ariana Krichbaum who teaches at Chase Street Elementary School in Athens, GA. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 10/17/2002.

Viewed 217708 times since 10/3/2002.

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Previous Comments:

Katie M.

Love the idea. I am going to try this game in the pool. Using noodles as the rafts and cabinet liner (because it floats) to write the different amounts on.

Carolyn B

Fantastic game...played it with grades 3-8 and everyone loved it.


I have a question - What are the valuables? The bean bags? Do they have to pick up the value of bean bags that correspond to the answer to the problem on the board?

Greg Gray

HELLO! Nice job on this game!! It's a great academic integration game. I use large scooters as rafts and then dump bean bags, balls, cones and spots in the middle of the floor for them to choose from. They must work together as a team to solve the problem first, then look at their color code sheet, when the whistle blow, then they must scoot out collect the exact color combination of their answer, then try to be the first person back to their wall space. They love it,and it's great problem solving. My fifth and sixth graders were doing 2 and three step math problems and I even through in an algebra equation! Thanks again for the nice idea!

Lee Morgeson

I love this!! I'm thinking I can use this with the younger kids that are learning money. Each color/ball is a dollar, quarter, dime, nickel or penny and I can write an amount on the board for them to figure out. Thanks!!


could you explain a little about how everyone moves around the ocean.


Wonderful idea! Love the idea about having students naming others who were good teammates. Definitely one that I will use often.