Ready, Set, Go!

Students play “Fire Brigade”, a relay game that promotes cooperation and teamwork!
Ages 5-14 / 30
min Activity
Diplomacy
Kindness
Inclusivity
Exercise

Objectives

  • ‍Engage in a physical activity that promotes cooperation and teamwork while developing cardiovascular efficiency
  • ‍Use technology to meet a partner class located in another community, and explore how students play games around the world

Supporting Research

Research shows that participating in organized physical activities improves a child’s intrapersonal and interpersonal abilities, such as self-regulation, self-esteem, empathy, and conflict resolution skills. Educators should encourage students to practice diplomacy and kindness as they manage their emotions in a team setting and cooperate with each other in a kind and respectful manner. During the live virtual exchange, educators should guide students to practice inclusivity as they explore similarities and differences between how students play around the world.

To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.

Materials

  • ‍2 plastic hoops
  • ‍3-4 balls, beanbags, yarn balls, and/or any small piece of equipment that can be safely passed overhead for each group of 4 students (a combination of equipment will suffice)

Activity Partners

Instructions

  1. Familiarize yourself with the "Fire Brigade" game by watching the demo video, which is available in English and Spanish. While the video is primarily an educator-facing resource, it may be helpful to show students the moving diagram (from 0:50-1:48). Remember, the goal is to get kids up and moving as quickly and as much as possible!
  2. Engage students in a conversation about physical activity by asking the following questions:
    • Why is it important for us to engage in physical activity every day?
    • What are some ways that you enjoy being physically active? Are there any particular games or sports that you enjoy?
    • How can playing games together help us make friends and get along better?
  3. Introduce "Fire Brigade" as a relay game that requires students to work together as a team while getting lots of exercise! Explain the game rules to students (which you can find in the section below), then ask students to come up with norms for how they will play the game and collaborate with each other. For example:
    • Listen carefully to the rules and follow the instructions
    • Stay in your group’s assigned area
    • Keep all body parts to yourself
    • Respect others and their personal space
    •Treat equipment safely and with care
    • Move with control and awareness of others
    • Encourage each other
  4. Lead students through a game of "Fire Brigade"!
  5. After completing the game, invite students to individually reflect on their experiences, and use the following prompts to guide them:
    Mind: What is something new they learned from participating in this activity?
    Heart: How did they feel during this activity?
    Body: What is one way that they want to participate in more physical activities together? 

    Then, gather students in a group reflection and ask the following questions:
    • Have you played a game similar to this one before? How do games like “Fire Brigade” promote cooperation and friendship?
    • What worked well during the game?
    • How did we help each other?
    • Did you experience any challenges, or notice anything that didn’t work well? Are there any solutions that you tried, or would try in the future?
    • What should we do differently the next time we play this game, or similar games that require teamwork?

Optional Extension: Virtual Exchange

Facilitate a live virtual exchange with an Empatico partner class, and invite students to explore games played in other communities. For example, students might: 

  • Identify 2-3 popular ways your class likes to play together, and how they practice kindness, collaboration, and other skills through these games.
  • Come up with stories to share with their partner class, and questions to ask them, such as their experiences playing “Fire Brigade” and other games. For more ideas, please review this resource
  • Notice similarities and differences between how they like to play, and what they can learn about each other’s interests, perspectives, and values in relation to games. 

For tips on leading a positive cross-cultural experience for your students, please watch our “Teacher Tips” video.

Game Rules

  1. Divide your class into equal groups of 4-5 students. 
  2. Designate two parallel lines 15-20 yards apart (the length of the lines will depend on class size). Select one of the lines, and place a hoop for each group on this line. This hoop will contain 3-4 balls for each group. For example, if you have six groups, there should be six hoops spread an equal distance across the line, with each hoop containing 3-4 balls. 
  3. On the other line, place an empty hoop for each group. The empty hoops should be directly across the hoops containing the balls.
  4. Students will start playing the game at their group’s empty hoop.


Playing the Game

  1. The students are “firefighters.” The empty hoop is the “fire.” The balls represent “buckets of water,” and the hoop containing the balls is the “water well.” Students begin at the fire.
  2. When the fire alarm sounds (whistle, drum, music), the firefighters run to their well and form a single-file line keeping their backs to the fire station.
  3. The head firefighter picks up a bucket of water, hands it overhead to the firefighter behind, and immediately runs to the end of the line. Remind students to hand, not throw, the ball to their teammates. 
  4. Firefighters continue to “hand and move” until the line has reached their respective fire. The group must do 5 jumping jacks together if the bucket is mishandled and dropped on the ground. They can then resume passing the bucket at the spot it was dropped.
  5. When the line arrives at the fire, the bucket is deposited inside the hoop, and the firefighters run and repeat the process until all buckets of water are safely at their fire and the fire thus extinguished.
  6. Once the group brings all of the buckets to the fire, the firefighters will march in place until all groups have completed their task.

If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...

Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call. 
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.

If students in either class don’t have individual devices...

Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.  
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.

If you prefer not using Kahoot!...

Use this document (Spanish version) to prompt students.