This game is really enjoyable to both take part in and watch. It encourages the children to work as a team, organising their actions to achieve the desired outcome as quickly (but as safely) as possible.
1) For a class of about 30 children, split them into four evenly-sized groups. Arrange the apparatus as in the following diagram. Brown rectangles are benches. Blue rectangles are mats, and the yellow area is the floor.
2) Remind the children about safety in P.E. and ask each group to quietly and sensibly stand on a bench.
3) Explain that the benches are islands and that they are safe places. The mats and floor are the seas, and there are lots of sharks swimming in the sea who like to eat small children! No one should touch the mats or the floor throughout this activity (otherwise, they will get eaten!)
4) Tell the children that you want them to get into alphabetical order (according to their first name), with As starting at one end and moving through to Zs at the other end of the bench. The children should help each other to move sensibly over the benches.
5) When the children accomplish this, try out these variations:
- Arrange them according to surname,
- Arrange them according to age,
- Arrange them according to height,
- Get them to carry out the task WITHOUT TALKING (i.e. using other forms of communication),
- Arrange them in order of birthdays (from Jan to Dec).
You could also join two benches together to form two large groups or put them all in a square for a whole class activity (when the children are quite confident at this activity).