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Secret Passage

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Now here is a great cooperative game sent in by Tracy Radler from Ewing, New Jersey.  4-8

Background: Here’s an exciting cooperative, yet competitive, challenge for your older students. In this activity, groups of students will find the “secret passage” using a process of elimination and peer coaching.

Set-Up: For this activity, you will need to find 42 flat objects such as any available polyspots, carpet squares, or other suitable items (ex: bases, individual exercise mats). These are used to create a pattern in the gym that has six rows and seven columns as shown.


How We Play It: Divide the class into 5 groups. Assign one student from each group to be the Guide. The Guides stand on the opposite side of the gym. Each Guide is provided with the “Secret Map” that details the exact path that group must take to successfully get from one side of the gym to the other. Example:


Each “Secret Map” is different from the others. So, with five groups, there will be five different maps. On the signal to begin, the first players from each group steps on one of the six squares in the first column. If it is the correct square, the Group’s Guide nods his head. If it is not the correct square, the Guide shakes his head “no.” If it is “yes,” then the student selects another adjacent square. In other words, a square that is to the left, right, diagonal, or in front of the square. If this is the correct square, the student continues until he guesses wrong. When this happens, the player rejoins the group and goes to the end of the line.

It is now the next player’s turn. Hopefully, this player has been paying attention and is able to remember what are the correct (or incorrect) squares. This process of “trial and error” continues until the entire team is able to get across. This is such a fun activity! The kids really get into it and truly enjoy the “guessing” and “trial and error” aspect.

Other Rules and Options:

(1) Players may help their teammates by telling them what square to step in next (ex: “Go straight”).
(2) Only one player from each group is allowed to go at a time (ex: you can’t have one player walking behind another to get across).
(3) The hardest part is finding the correct square in column one, since there are six possible choices. From that point on, it’s determining what adjacent square is the correct one.
(4) For an added challenge, do not allow the teams to talk or help their teammates. This puts more pressure on each student to pay attention.
(5) It is important that the Guides remain neutral. They may not signal or tell a player where to step next.

When each group is done, select new Guides and give each group a new map. To help you get started, a blank map and a two additional “Secret Maps” are provided. Have fun!


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