Monday, April 6, 2015

States and Capitals Bowling

Need a way to encourage older children to drill a skill? BOWLING can be the way. 

Let's start with a story:

This is going back a number of years. I was visiting my sister and her family. My now-grown nephew was in 3rd grade. He came home from school and announced he had to memorize the state capitals. A game came to my mind and I quickly made it up for him....Bowling State Capitals. He and I played it and he tried hard, but I beat him every game as I do know my capitals. He took the challenge. The next morning when I got up he was already playing the game on his own. He was determined to eventually win and he knew the only way was to study or play the game. I told him that I could get a perfect score of 300 and that I knew he eventually would too. I returned to my home the next day and that very afternoon I received the call that he had scored 300! 

Grandson Douglas learning the capitals.


Draw a game board. It is simple. Make a grid with one block in the first row, 2 in the next, 3 in the 3rd row, and 4 in the bottom row. (See the blue sheet above). It is not necessary to add any decoration, but it always makes it seem more of a game. A few stickers can also be used to add some color.

Make the cards. They should be slightly smaller than the spaces on the grid. On one side write the names of the states. On the reverse write the capital.

The score sheet was found and printed from the Internet. It is a standard bowling score sheet. Placing it in a plastic sleeve makes it reusable. 


Shuffle the cards and keeping state names up, place one card in each space of the grid. Set the rest of the cards aside. 

The first player takes his turn by starting at the top of the grid and reading the name of the state and then naming its capital. He turns it over to see if his answer is correct. If correct, he removes the card from the grid and moves to the next space. He proceeds through all 10 cards, removing all correct responses. If incorrect, the player reads the correct answer (getting an immediate feedback) and returns the card to its original space, state name up. He still continues through each of the ten cards, removing correct responses and returning mistakes to the grid. 

When he completed all ten cards, he counts the number of removed cards and puts this number on the score sheet. This would be recorded as though it were his first "ball" when actually bowling. Then he repeats the process and counts how many new cards removed as though it were his second "ball" bowled. If he has removed all 10 with the first "ball" it would be recorded as a strike. All 10 removed with both "balls," then it would record as a spare. 

SCORE is kept just like traditional bowling. A perfect game would result in a score of 300 and require that the player had gone through all 50 cards two times without making an error. How is that for good drill?

This game can be played with 2 or more players. It can also be a great drill/game to play by themselves.

For a good variation and lots of good drill: play the game with the capital sides up.

Bowling is a fun way to drill for older children. Whatever the skill, BOWLING can be the answer.

Back to the story: My nephew realized that he did not have to finish a game. When he made a mistake he simply started a new game. Some may think this is "cheating," however the outcome was what we wanted....he was studying and learning the state capitals. HURRAY!


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