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Journey to the Center of the Earth

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This game for grades 2-6 was submitted by Stephen Govorko, Mishawaka, Indiana.

Based on the book by Jules Verne, we designed a fantastic adventure-based obstacle course. The story centers on an expedition led by the students down into the Earth’s dark and threatening core.

The object of the activity is to successfully negotiate each obstacle, avoid being tagged by the underground creatures (students and/or parents), and find the center of the earth. This journey is cooperative in nature, as students help each other through the obstacles.

“Journey to the Center of the Earth” was a project of our Student Council and helps promote school-wide fitness, with Geography and English Literature skills incorporated into the course. The student representatives help to design and work the obstacle course. Using equipment available at most schools, we set up six obstacles in the gym.

Beware of the “Lava People,” who are underground creatures roaming beneath the volcano and don’t like to be disturbed. The Earth’s core or center is guarded by these creatures (students or parents in disguise and wearing pinnies). If one tags you, you must go back to the beginning of the course and start over. However, if you see it coming, you may protect yourself by squatting down and putting both hands on the ground. In addition, the creatures may not tag you if you are in the middle of an obstacle. So there is nothing to fear while you are performing the obstacle. Here are the six obstacles:

1.) Glistening Cavern of Quartz Crystals: The crystals are cones and whiffle balls that are lined up. The students must move in and out of the quartz crystals in a slalom-like course. If they miss a cone or knock down a whiffle ball, they must go back to the beginning of the course. At the end of the cavern, they will come to the next obstacle.

2.) Crossing the Subterranean Sea: This is a large mass of subterranean water that is occupied by monsters of the deep, eyeless fish, and blind piranhas. Students need to negotiate the raft (scooter boards) by using the rope line to pull themselves to the other side. If they fall off or are unable to make it across, they must start over.

3.) Forest of Giant Mushrooms: The students crawl under the parachute to the next obstacle. Beware of the Lava People lurking about.

4.) Passage Along the Boundless Abyss of Eruptive Rock: Students use the balance beams and climbing rope to cross the subterranean fiery bed of hot lava rock. You must walk on the beams and then swing over the eruptive rocks to the other side.

5.) Blackened Cavern of No Return: A dark cavern goes deep into the Earth’s crust (made with boxes and chairs). The students crawl slowly and carefully through the cavern. Be quiet; you wouldn’t want to run into the Lava People on the other side.

6.) Garden of Slippery Moss and Algae: Why is a garden so dangerous? It is the only path that leads to the center of the Earth. The students using the rings, hoop holders, carpet squares, and high/low bars must cross the garden without losing their balance.

Center of the Earth: This is a large ball located in the center of the gym. If you touch it, exit quickly before the creatures see you. As you leave the center of the earth, you will find you are ready to start again.

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