Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Crab Grab game

I am teaching at our co-op today with older elementary students about crustaceans and developed a game you can play to show how a crustacean's chelipads (claws) make really bad hands.

Materials needed:
  • a mitten for a hand for each team (or each person has one mittened hand)
  • a bag of small items for each team.  
  • a cup for each team
How to play:
  • Divide the group into even teams (if possible).  
  • Place the bag of items near each team member and a cup on the opposite side of the room.
  • The bag of small items should have as many small items for each team member to go through at least once.
  • Give each team a mitten (Optional:  you can have each team member wear a mitten).  The mitten should be worn so that the pointer finger goes into each glove to mimick a crab's claw or chelipads.
  • Have the teams start at the same time.  The team member with the mitten on has to pick up one small item and carry it over to the cup and drop it into the cup.  Once the item is in the cup, the child runs back and gives the mitten to the next person in line to put on the same way.
  • Repeat until all the items are place in the cup

I used quarters in a sandwhich bag for the small items.  Pencils or maybe pick-up sticks (wooden shish-ka-bob skewers) might also work.  I live in the desert, where it doesn't snow, so I limited the number of mittens needed.   Fortunately, I haven't yet thrown out all the mittens with missing partners we gathered when we lived in the Chicago area, where mittens and gloves are a necessity from November to at least February, sometimes March or April.

The Good:  It will bring home the fact that chelipads are used mainly for cutting, not grabbing and help kids to see how useful opposable thumbs really are.
The Bad:  The sandwich bags into which I put the quarters broke pretty easily as the kids frantically grabbed for quarters.  Frustration levels for kids who are less coordinated are rather high.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for younger elementary kids, unless you find some bigger items, like maybe blocks.  
The Ugly:  Some mittens, like the one pictured are pretty ugly.  The worst, though, was a small, filthy, pink mitten with stars made for 5-year old hands.  It is a solo mitten and will be tossed at the end.  

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