Enrichment Activities, For Coaches and Teachers, For Kids

Keep the Fun of Round Robin #3 Going with our “Librarians on Ladders” Extension

During Round Robin 3, we challenged our Triathletes to brainstorm new meanings for familiar acronyms. There is only 10 minutes allowed for any Mind Sprint, so we could only offer a few phrases during the challenge. As you get ready for the Regional competition on March 9, we wanted to offer another chance to play this game, as well as some ways to interact with acronyms that we couldn’t do in the short time within a Mind Sprint.

Objective: To use divergent thinking even when seeing familiar patterns.

Conducting the enrichment: An activity for one or more people. Parents and coaches can play along with the students, so don’t be shy! You will also need some way to record your answers.

An acronym is a series of letters that represent a phrase. Your challenge will be to brainstorm acronyms we use in our daily lives, then come up with new phrases to fit them.

Part 1

Take out some scratch paper and a writing utensil. You could use a word processor if you don’t have any paper, but we recommend writing by hand for brainstorming to help engage your brain on a more tactile level.

Divide your paper into four parts, and label each section 2-5. In these areas, you will record acronyms with the corresponding number of letters. If you think of any that are six letters or longer, record them in the “5” section.

Set a timer for two minutes. When your time begins, record as many acronyms as you can, and put them into the different sections of your page. Try to think of at least one acronym for each of your numbered sections. You will use these acronyms for Part 2.

If you are doing this activity with multiple students, you can make it a friendly competition. After the time is up, compare your lists, and award 2 points for each 2-letter answer, 3 points for each 3-letter answer, etc. When the scores are compiled, take a look at the different techniques other students used for getting their scores. Were there any strategies that people used to generate more words that others could use in the future? Did it matter how long the words really were? Or was quantity of answers vs. quantity of letters a better strategy?

Part 2

Once you have a list of acronyms, it’s time for a new piece of paper. Your next task will be to take this list and brainstorm new phrases that fit the pattern of letters.

Acronyms are usually made up of the first letters in each word of the phrase, but sometimes little words are left out, such as when the United States of America is abbreviated as USA. You may include linking words in your answers that hold the phrase together but don’t use up a letter. Take a moment to add the phrases for each of your acronyms to your list. If you aren’t certain exactly what it stands for, double check on the internet or ask the other students who are playing the game to reach a consensus.

To make things a little more challenging, there is one condition of your new acronyms. You may not use any of the words in the original phrase in your answers. So for LOL, you couldn’t use the words “laugh,” “out,” or “loud,” but you could say Librarians On Ladders or Leather Over Lace.

If you are playing alone, set a new timer for 30 seconds. Choose any acronym from your list, and use the 30 seconds to come up with new phrases. Longer phrases offer a bigger challenge, so you may want to start with 2- or 3-letter acronyms to begin. Repeat the process at least five times with different acronyms. After you’ve done a few shorter words, move on to longer ones.

If you are playing as a group, you could follow the instructions above and compare your answers. Alternatively, you could take turns using acronyms from each other’s lists and do the brainstorming as a group. It can be really fun to do this as a verbal activity rather than keeping it all on paper, but you may also want to assign one person to record all of the different answers.

Just for Fun

Choose one of more of your favorite new phrases and create an illustration or logo to go along with it.

If you want to share your lists, experiences, or illustrations, we’d love to post them here on the website! You can email your material to Alison@USAcademicTriathlon.com.

Enrichment Activities, For Coaches and Teachers, For Kids

Help Your Students Get to Know One Another with Interviews!

We hope you all had a great time at Round Robin #1! Many teams came back for yet another season, but we also had the chance to welcome new teams to the fold. In a perfect world, the students came together and sparked immediately in a shower of creative fireworks. In reality, even the most seasoned Triathletes can use a little nudge back into sync from time to time.

Since it’s the beginning of the season, we thought we’d provide a “getting to know you” activity for the students. It’s a dash of P.A.RT.Y. in a Box and mixed with a Mind Sprint’s ticking clock. We’d love to see the results of this role-playing activity. Please, send any finished interviews, images the activity inspires, and videos of our students giving it a whirl to Alison@usacademictriathlon.com.

Objective: Use an interview structure to refresh acting skills and help the students get to know each other better to boost creative flow.

Quick Set-up: An activity for 1 or more. Download and print the interview questions template, or answer the questions below as a verbal activity.

Conducting the interviews: We ask our Triathletes to introduce themselves at Round Robin #1 every year. Now, it’s time to think about who you’d like to be rather than who you are. Use the questions to create a fascinating life story for yourself. The sky is the limit when it comes to what can happen between now and 2050, so aim high when you talk about your accomplishments and aspirations as your adult self.

Take turns acting as an interviewer, be it for a local newspaper, Time Magazine, or your future child’s family history project. Feel free to add or skip any questions you don’t feel like doing. Some people may wish for time to write down their responses in advance, and others may feel ready to jump right in. Use these questions in whatever way works best for you!

Bonus activity: Use your Competition Kit or things around the home or classroom to create one prop your future self would use to add interest to their interview. Refer to it at any point during the dialog and tell a story.

Interviewer: Briefly introduce yourself for the “audience,” then proceed to the questions.

Interview Questions

  1. What an interesting life you’ve lived! Are there any moments that stand out to you the most?
  1. You are a person of many talents. What would you say you are the best known for at this point in your life?
  1. Did that take any training or classes to be able to do that? Maybe a mentor or someone who made a real difference?
  1. When you aren’t busy with that, how do you spend your free time?
  1. Do you do all of that by yourself, or do you have friends or family who do that with you?
  1. What about pets? Do you have a furry friend or slippery serpent in your life? Does your pet require any special care?
  1. Do you have a favorite book or quote that inspired you along the way?
  1. What’s in store for you next? Do you have any goals for the second half of the century?
  1. Thank you so much for your time. Do you have any parting words or advice for young people today?