Mountain View Target Students Take on Survivor

Growing as empathetic and collaborative team members.

Students had recently wrapped up a long-term study. Their Target teachers issued a challenge—an opportunity to use voice and choice in directing a survival study. Challenge accepted!

Mountain View’s fourth grade Target students are investigating what it means to be a survivor. Presented with various real-world challenges, they’re developing skills such as filtering water, tying knots, and constructing shelter. They are discussing traits survivors share and have determined that all survivors share a will to persevere—to never give up. Students will also research survivors in the medical and mining fields as well those in the wilderness or of tragic historical events such as the Holocaust or the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Their teachers sought to put students in the driver’s seat, though, and the kids responded.

These fourth graders are excited members of tribes, and idea taken from the American television show “Survivor”. They created tribal banners and bracelets to represent their teams. Each week, they participate in a tribal challenge. Individuals use analytical reasoning to solve puzzles, earning points for their tribe. They also compete in ‘Minute to Win It’ challenges. These challenges are fun, one-minute challenges that allow individuals to earn points from an established range and for their tribes. During tribal council, each tribe determines roles and discusses strategy; in this kid-friendly version, no-one is ‘voted off’. Remote learners are every bit as involved, picking up challenge supplies each week and even strategizing as a virtual tribe. Students enjoy the competition but also enjoy lending their voice to future challenges.

While learning content and skills, these Mountain View students are also developing valuable empathy and understanding of team. At the same time, they look forward to their next opportunity to “outsmart, outlaugh, and outfun” each other!


Andrew Kutscher, Supervisor
Advanced Learning

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