SPARKLERS / Ready for learning

Continuing Continuums

These energising warm-ups encourage team work and communication.
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki understand some of the differences between people.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

This activity helps tamariki recognise that things are not the same for everyone - we come from different places, are physically different, have different opinions and that we feel things differently - continuums are a great way to demonstrate all of this (without the lecture!).

Hei mahi - What to do

Ask tamariki simply to ‘line up’ in a row. Let them do this as noisily as they like, asking questions etc.

If it gets out of hand though, just count them down from 5, saying that at 1 they should be in place in a line.

Ask how difficult this was for them? It should be fairly simple and your students may be a little confused by your question! Ask what made lining up simple?

Repeat tamariki lining up, but say:

  • This time, line up in the order of... your birthday (not year!). Make one end January and the other December. You might want to place yourself in the line too!

    Check everyone’s in the correct order, and if not, just get them to jump into the right place... it doesn’t matter. Ask tamariki how easy it was to put themselves in birthday order? Why?

  • This time, line up silently! in the order of... your shoe size. This is a great to get them comparing and communicating non-verbally. Again, you could join in.

    It will probably be necessary to do some playful ‘shushing’ - this is fine and part of the learning. Once they’re satisfied they’re in the right order, debrief how they found it.

  • This time, line up silently in alphabetical order of... their middle names. Allocate one end as A and the other as Z.

    Once they're 'complete' do a quick check by asking tamariki to state their middle name. Debrief about how they found this one!

Let them know you’re really pleased with how they’re doing – the best you’ve seen a class complete these before – fib even if it’s your first time, it will build their confidence and set them up positively for the next challenge!

Tell them because they're so skilled at this, you're going to really challenge them!

  • This time, line up silently in the order of... the place you were born. Allocate Stewart Island at one end and Kaitaia at the other. Tamariki born in the same place can group together.

    Bear in mind tamariki born overseas usually enjoy this as they like being unique and associate positively with their place of birth. Our experience is that they will place themselves off the continuum, in the context of the rest of the world. Let them know this is ka pai!

    If the group becomes muddled or is talking more than than they have with other continuums, ask them to freeze where they are and debrief about what’s proving tough – this is all about the learning, rather than getting it perfect.

    If you need to help them distinguish some ‘signs’ for the places they were born you could ask them for some characteristics of ‘Christchurch’ for example – wobbling about like an earthquake might be one! Wellington might be blowing to indicate the wind, the UK might be sipping cups of tea.

Once (or if) they complete this it's great to debrief – what did you notice? – it will generally take longer and you could comment on this. Why did it take longer? Ask them what helped? Let tamariki know what you noticed them doing really well.

You may also like to say that what they're forming is a continuum – a sequence of ‘something’.

We recommend to keep revisiting continuums and include some of the ideas below, or make up your own.

What next?

Continuums can be a great way to start your day or check in after lunch:

  • How are we are feeling in order of enthusiasm for the rest of the day - mark the floor from 1 to 10. Depending on the vibe, you might follow up with an energiser game or a calming activity.

Other continuum ideas for quick 'line ups'

  • Length of your hair – easy and great for younger tamariki.
  • Time you get out of bed on a school day.
  • Street or Road Number of your house.
  • How many people in your house
  • How many pets you have – expect them to all gather at the lower end (unless they’re on a farm and consider all the animals their pets!)

Continuums are also a great way to start a kōrero for example about iwi and culture:

  • Ask tamariki to form a continuum of their iwi (you can provide some more content around this if you'd like.
    • Ask tamariki to have a look around - did you know the iwi (or culture) of your friends?
    • Who's iwi (or culture) would you like to learn more about? And this could include your own.
    • You might include more continuum's as a part of this:
      • Who has a language as part of your culture (everyone!)? - create a continuum of languages!
      • Who has waiata as apart of your culture (everyone!)?
      • What are some things others may not know about your culture and you'd like them to?

You might want to extend this work to consider how understanding our culture and feeling we have a strong cultural identity connects with positive wellbeing!

Or check in with learning along the journey:

  • Or you might want to check in with tamariki learning using continuums:
    • Who feels they know a lot about Matariki or nothing at all about Matariki yet...
    • Knows their times tables or doesn't know many yet...

This also provides a good opportunity for tuakana-teina in that those feeling more confident could support those who aren't yet.

Continuums are also a great way to see others' perspectives - ask tamariki to line up according to how they would feel. E.g. Calm at one end and outraged at the other. E.g.

  • Your friend says they're too busy to come over, but then you see them out with another friend on Instagram.
  • You forget it's mufti and arrive at school in your uniform. You're the only one.

These are great discussion topics. Ask the tamariki at the calm end why they'd feel like that. It's good learning for those at the 'outraged' end!

And of course, allow your tamariki to come up with some other ideas and run the continuum! Also, give tamariki the opportunity to ask questions about the continuum and encourage more continuums around the same topic.

Wanting to explore energy and emotions more?

Move to Energy Rollercoaster and Sliding Emotions to put continuums into practice around noticing energy levels or emotional levels and being able to manage these appropriately for the circumstance.

Ngā mihi

To James Muckle and Logan Moore who extended this mahi for us as part of their HLED122 paper at University of Canterbury.

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