Creativity Lesson: Play & The Donner Party

Suggested Books

*This lesson coincides with section 5, play is frivolous, from A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech.

Lesson written by Crystal Pickett

Grade level range: 8th

Length of time to teach lesson: 20-30 minutes

Objectives (Learning targets) of this lesson: Techniques to refocus/ get past a mental block, Review of Donner Party knowledge

Resources/supplies/handouts needed to teach this lesson: Sentence stems regarding Donner Party, Hardships the Donner Party faced were:  Resources the Donner Party needed were:  What I would do differently if I were in the Donner Party:       Pass chips/tokens – 3 per student

Step-by-step teaching instructions for the activity/lesson

Introduce new topic of Donner Party
2-3 minutes “think time” for prior knowledge
Divide into groups of 3 or 4
Give sentence stem to each student
Each student to complete sentence stem with 1 new idea
When completed with first sentence stem, pass to next person to add onto that thought.  If a student gets stuck, s/he can use a pass chip
Stems should circulate 2-3 times between students

Assessment: I would share this rubric with the students prior to starting the activity.  As they pass the cards around I would have them tally how many details they add.  During the activity I would have them initial next to their contribution.  I would review the note cards after the activity is completed and compare my scores to the students’ score.
































Book Cover

Help Wanted on
Mont Vernon
This book combines history
and mathematics with
adorable characters to teach
kids about the many talents
of the first U.S. President.

Book Cover

The UnderAchievers:
Woven into a fun story, this
book provides excellent
math lessons for kids.  

Writing Across the Curriculum:
The NumberFix Project


Book Cover

 Wacky We-Search Reports:
A popular book on writing
across the curriculum.