They've been coming and going for centuries, those crazy leprechauns—especially on St. Patrick's Day. They might leave shamrocks on the kitchen floor, or turn your lemonade green, or show up on your pillow and leave you “leprechaun gold.” But in all that hullabaloo, one of those leprechauns has gotten lost! Here's a game your third grader can play with a friend to help locate the poor lost guy. There's also a great learning twist: in order to win, she'll have to practice using the compass rose, a key social studies concept which is the basis for all maps, and the naming of coordinates, a fundamental math skill. So check out our directions below, and get ready for a “lucky” learning day.
What You Need:
- Lost Leprechaun grid (make your own here)
- Two or more curious third graders
What You Do:
- Start by making and printing a “Lost Leprechaun Grid" as shown in the picture. Each player should get one.
- Just so everyone’s on the same page (so to speak), take a minute to review the concept of “coordinates": on the Lucky Leprechaun grid, every intersection can be identified by two numbers: one “across” (in later math, this will be called the “x” axis), and one “up or down” (later, this will be called the “y” axis). While you’re at it, make sure that kids are familiar with the compass rose which is also included on the Lost Leprechaun Grid page.
- Now choose a leader for this round. Without showing the other players, the leader should write a shamrock on one coordinate. The other folks will try to figure out where that is.
- Everyone will start at the “bottom of the rainbow”---(0,0). Sharing one Leprechaun Grid Page, they will take turns guessing the coordinates for where that poor Lost Leprechaun could be. Each guess should be recorded on the Leprechaun Grid page to help keep everything straight.
- The leader will respond to each guess with a clue, which the players should also write down. The clues can only, however, be compass directions. Let’s say, for example, that a player guesses “2,3” but the Leprechaun is lost up on “4,8.” The leader will say “Go Northeast.”
- The object of the game, of course, is to locate Mr. Leprechaun. But while you’re at it, this game should help your child become oriented in two crucial lifetime learning skills at once: geographical direction, and mathematical coordinates. See how fast you find Mr. Leprechaun this round, and then pick new leaders for as many rounds as possible. Play this game many times, and you can only expect the benefits to multiply.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.