Trip Planners is a role-playing game that integrates math, geography, and writing. Students begin with a folder that includes an expense ledger, spiral notebook for journal writing, laminated United States road map, and a United States road atlas. Using the laminated road map, students plan a cross-country road trip. Next, students begin with $5,000 in their expense ledger. Students randomly choose a travel card. Each travel card represents one day of traveling on the road and include food purchased for the day, an unexpected event, hotel expense, miles traveled, and journal writing. The travel cards are silly and absurd and kids can hardly wait to choose the next card to see what will happen to them!
Using the road atlas, students figure out the miles traveled for the day and place a marker (3-M sticker works well) on the town. They also write the city and state on their travel card. Additionally, I have a large U.S. map in my classroom where kids place a marker on the large map so they can see where other students are located. At the end of the travel day, students write a summary of their day in their journal.
I have been using Trip Planners for 9 years. The high level of enthusiasm is amazing! Students have begged to stay in during recess to work on Trip Planners. Many students have taken it home to work on it over the weekend. Parents have been very pleased with the role-playing game.
Initially, I created Trip Planners for my Gifted and Talented students. However, I discovered all students benefit from it. I have had the most success using it with small groups and independent studies. I do not recommend it for the whole class at the same time, because kids get too excited and want to talk about their travel cards.
As a teacher, it is important for me to make learning fun, engaging, and applicable to the real-world. I love using humor to get kids excited about learning.
There is a lot of flexibility when using Trip Planners. It is easy to modify or adjust different components of the role-playing game. For example:
-Decide which kids (all or some) will use calculators.
-Partner lower-level student with another student.
-Adjust the writing requirement.
-Adjust the amount of beginning cash.
-Choose if you want students to work with negative numbers. Since my students weren't ready to use negative numbers, I had them write a letter to me in their journal when their money was getting low, requesting a loan and explaining why they needed one.
This product has worked well with Talented and Gifted (GATE) students, advanced students, regular ed students, special needs students (when partnered), and independent students (home school).
*Please note: The purchase of Trip Planners includes the expense ledger and travel cards only. Additional supplies needed for the role-playing game will need to be purchased separately. I have had 3-5 students sharing one road atlas.
This product comes with answer keys.
Meets common core math standards for Grade 5: Numbers & Operations in Base Ten and Grade 6: The Number System. Meets common core ELA standards for Grades 5 & 6 in Writing and Speaking. - Tammy Griffis
5th Grade Teacher