The MS Rocks House-Team Challenges and Friendly Competitions

The Middle School at RIS not only offers our students many opportunities to explore a range of passions and projects with many different curricular options, but the MS faculty—and sometimes students—plan and organize an assortment of weekly or monthly challenges.

These “extra” activities ensure that our students are engaged, stretching their capabilities, delving into their creativity, exploring new software and digital platforms, and using their free time thoughtfully.

Above all, these events encourage our MS students to have fun at school. As Hilary G. Conklin, Ph.D, states “Giving students occasions to learn through play not only fosters creative thinking, problem solving, independence, and perseverance, but also addresses teenagers’ developmental needs for greater independence and ownership in their learning, opportunities for physical activity and creative expression, and the ability to demonstrate competence.” TIME, “Playtime Isn’t Just for Preschoolers—Teenagers Need It, Too”

Here are some of the fun house-team challenges and friendly competitions that our MS students have been participating in over the past 4 months.

For students who like to be active—and for those who might not otherwise choose to be—there are the ever-popular Lunchtime Intramural Games, such as the Ping Pong Tournament and Bench Ball tournament.

During the Halloween Costume Contest organized by Ms. Caroline and the MSC, students and teachers were awarded points for costumes that fell into several categories: Most Original, Most Creepy, Most Silly, and Best Dressed Duo.

Currently, Mr. Jonathan is hosting BreakoutEDU games at lunchtime. The MS has purchased some BreakoutEDU kits—along with access to about 800 different pre-made games—that allow teachers to turn a classroom into a content-themed escape room. Groups of 4–6 students can work together to solve the puzzles.

One of our students, Vic, initiated and hosted a well-attended all-school chess tournament in the MakerSpace at lunchtime.

The Pixel Art House Team Challenge happens in November, where students get to vote for the winners. This year there are four different themes: House Team Mascot, Unique Phoenix, Halloween, and Dream Castle.

Another MS favorite is the Reading Bingo Challenge, where each student gets an electronic sheet of Bingo squares containing categories such as reading a new genre or a reading books whose theme underscores of our Principles of Phoenix (PoPs): Head, Hands, and Heart. Each box on the Bingo card indicates a type of book or reading-related task that students should fulfill. And each time a student completes that challenge, he/she gets to shade in that square. The goal is to fill in complete rows, which add up for house points. A completed Bingo sheet earns 70 house team points!

Example row from a Bingo sheet

Next up is the Basketball Challenge. Are you ready, MS?