Stump the Dump Maze Game
- Grades: 3–5
- Unit Plan:
- Answer questions about the story's plot, demonstrating their understanding of the novel
- Use problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination to navigate a maze using arrow keys
- Flashlight Readers Activities
- Computer: activities can be modified from one computer to a whole computer lab
- Flashlight Readers: Because of Winn-Dixie Stump the Dump Game
- Optional: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
- Optional: Basic art supplies (paper, glue, markers, etc.) for extension activity
- Optional: Power Point, LCD Projector, and Overhead Projector
Transparency Paper. Print out selected Web pages and make transparency copies to post on the overhead, if you don't have access to a computer
Step 1: Project the maze game on an LCD or other projection device for the whole class to see. Ask students what a story's setting is and record responses on the chalkboard. They should understand that a setting is the time, place, and atmosphere in which a story's events occur. Explain that the setting is important because it can define the actions of the characters. Point out that moving to a new place - Naomi, Florida - is what causes Opal to feel lonely and start thinking about her mother, which sets the story's plot in motion. Draw students' attention to the screen. Ask what setting from the story the maze represents (Gloria Dump's yard) and why this setting is important to the story.
Review the object of the maze game by reading aloud the instructions. Point out that the question marks within the maze represent questions about the book students will need to answer. Draw their attention to the six collectible items positioned throughout the maze. Explain that each item is related to the book in some way and that collecting them affects their journey through the maze. Invite students to think about what they know about the items, and to use that information to predict how each item will affect the game. Write their predictions on the chalkboard.
Have students independently work on computers to play Stump the Dump. Encourage them to try again if they do not reach the end of the maze before the time is up.
Once students have played Stump the Dump and completed the scrapbook, they will earn a reward. Upon completion of both these activities, invite students to click the Secret Drawer to reveal an autographed photo from author Kate DiCamillo.
After everyone has played the maze game, have the class review their predictions about how each collectible item would affect the game. Ask: Which predictions proved correct? Which didn't? What other collectibles could you add to this game and what effect would they have?
Supporting All Learners
Language Arts Standards (4th Ed.)
- Understands the basic concept of plot (e.g., main problem, conflict, resolution, cause-and-effect)
- Applies basic trouble-shooting and problem-solving techniques
Divide the class into small groups. Have each group create their own game based on Because of Winn-Dixie. It could be another maze based on a different setting from the story or it could be a board game like Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders. Students should work together to write instructions, make game pieces, design game board, etc. Encourage groups to play each other's games.
Informally assess students' comprehension of the book by walking around the room as they play the maze game. Follow up with students who are unable to answer questions by having them review or re-read sections of the book related to questions they couldn't answer.