Buzz invites students to physically, verbally, and cognitively demonstrate knowledge through an energizing group challenge. This strategy allows students to verbally and physically represent a pattern, usually related to math or numeracy.
Invite students to stand in a circle. Introduce the activity: In my hands is an imaginary bolt of energy; the goal is to pass this energy around the circle as the groups counts numerically from 1 to 30. (The end number can be adapted as needed so that everyone gets to pass a number 2 or 3 times.) Encourage students to work quickly to maintain engagement and develop ensemble skills. How fast can we pass 1-50 around our circle? Once this is mastered add the next level. Depending on the math content, state that certain numbers (multiples of 2, prime numbers, etc.) will no longer be used in the game; instead, the person will say, “Buzz.” For example, if the group is working on multiples of “5” then the game would sound like “1, 2, 3, 4, Buzz, 6…” Students should work through the process slowly. Everyone listens to make sure that no mistakes are made and corrects the math when necessary. Once all students are clear on the sequence, the teacher might repeat the same math pattern multiple times to improve speed and fluency. Start each sequence in a different part of the circle to vary who says which numbers. If there is a mistake, encourage students to simply start again without discussion.
- What did you notice about yourself in the activity? What did you notice about the group?
- What strategies did you use to be successful?
- What sort of pattern did you notice as we played multiple rounds with different numbers?
- Work to stay focused. Let’s see if we can get the bolt of energy to never hit the ground.
- Don’t worry if we make a mistake. Fix it and let’s keep going.
- Have students play in smaller table groups of 4-6 in which they practice speed and fluency of sequence (everyone works on multiples of 3, or some groups work on 3’s while other’s do 4’s); groups can share for each other when they feel they are ready.
- Reading/Writing: Ask the group to list the alphabet (a, b, c…); every time a vowel comes up, the students say, “buzz.”