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Run for the Cup!

Head for Australia to stage your own Melbourne Cup! Make thoroughbred fun with a racing board game.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. During a unit of study focused on Australia, invite students to investigate the Melbourne Cup. Although they may live thousands of miles from Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, Australians enjoy the annual Melbourne Cup horse race on the first Tuesday in November. The race is 3200 metres (1.9 miles long), so every second counts and every move is important. Horses "jockey" for a position close to the inside. Why do you suppose this makes a difference? Try running in a circle with classmates to find out. Invite students to research the event.
    2. Students, working in small groups, design a board game. Create horses and jockeys. Form Crayola Dough or Model Magic® into miniature thoroughbred horses. Sculpt jockeys on their backs. Air-dry them.
    3. Build a racetrack. Cut a large circle gameboard from light cardboard with Crayola Scissors. Cut out an inside ring. Save it for the game spinner. Think about the rules and method of play for your game. With Crayola Twistables® and Markers, draw the racetrack with a starting gate, finish line, and instructions on different spaces. Students figure out a way for game pieces to move from the outside track to the inside track.
    4. Make a spinner: Students use Twistables to divide the cardboard circle into pie-shaped wedges. Write numbers or directions in each wedge. Cut a straight edge at the end of each wedge so that the circle will land flat. Poke a Crayola Erasable Colored Pencil through the center of the circle and twist for each turn. "The horses are on the track!"
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    MATH: Understand that attributes belonging to a category of two-dimensional figures also belong to all subcategories of that category.

    MATH: Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates variability in the data related to the question and accounts for it in the answers.

    MATH: Understand that a set of data collected to answer a statistical question has a distribution which can be described by its center, spread, and overall shape.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: D is for Down Under: An Australia Alphabet by Devin Scillian; This is Australia by Miroslav Sasek; Over in Australia: Amazing Animals Down Under by Marianne Berkes

    Working in a small group, students generate a list of terms and expressions associated with race tracks that we use in everyday language, such as "inside track," "jockeying for position," and "photo finish." Students research the definitions and meanings as well as the roots of these expressions.

    Students research the statistical system used in establishing the odds for horses to win. Encourage students to design their own statistical odds for various events. Have them share their ideas with the class.


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