May 22, 2014

Team Scoot - A New Twist on an Old Favorite

Have you heard of the review game Scoot? It's a whole class activity that gets kids up and moving from one seat to another as they solve problems. Team Scoot is a fun variation that allows students to work in cooperative learning teams which gives them an opportunity to discuss their answers and stretch their thinking.
What's Scoot?
Have you heard of the review game Scoot? It's a whole class activity that gets kids up and moving from one seat to another as they solve problems. You give each student a different task card and a recording page, and allow time for everyone to solve the first problem. When everyone is ready, say, "Scoot!" and everyone stands up and moves to the next desk. Students leave their task cards in place and take their recording pages with them. The activity is repeated until every student has finished all the task cards.

How Effective is Scoot? 
When I first learned about Scoot, I thought it sounded fun and educational. Kids are up and moving while they learn! Yay! But my cooperative learning training kicked in and I started to analyze the activity. The more I thought about it, the more I questioned Scoot as a learning activity. Kids are moving, but they aren't interacting. I wondered ...

  • What if a student has no idea how to solve the problems?
  • Where's the discussion and interaction that leads to higher level thinking and processing? 
  • When do the answers get checked? 
  • Does the teacher take the student papers home to check? 
  • If so, when do students who had trouble with the concept actually get help with it? 
  • If not and students are checking their own answers after each task card, when do they get to ask for help if they miss a problem?
Have you had any of these concerns? I love the basic concept, but this version of the game leaves a lot to be desired in terms of Scoot being an effective learning activity.

Team Scoot
I decided to modify the basic Scoot directions to create a cooperative learning version called Team Scoot. In this version, the kids "scoot" around their teams rather than the whole class and only solve four problems at a time. Then they stop to check and discuss their answers as a team before completing four more task cards. Adding time to check and discuss answers allows students to experience those "ah ha" moments of understanding that happen when you learn from a mistake. Students can see how others solve the same problem, and they experience the feeling of being an "expert" when they can help a classmate. Another benefit is that the teacher doesn't have any papers to grade at the end of the activity because the students check them after every four task cards. No papers to grade and kids are learning? What more could you ask?!

I typed up the directions for Team Scoot and added some recording pages for different types of problems. If you subscribe to my email newsletters, you can download the entire packet for free from Laura's Best Freebies, a private page on Teaching Resources. Sign up here!

Kid Tested and Approved!
As confident as I felt about the activity, I didn't want to share it on my blog until it had been tested with kids. So I asked a few teachers to test it out with their students. Fifth grade teacher Lori Tanner tried it with her class, and they loved it! They are shown in the image at the top of the post and in the two below.

Lori explained, "I tried out your Team Scoot activity with my fifth graders using some math task cards that I already had on hand. The directions were clear and my students seemed to understand them without much issue. I loved the level of engagement. Something as simple as being able to 'scoot' within the group kept kids engaged as they were anxious to make their way around their table group.  My students enjoyed having the opportunity to discuss/defend their answers.  I can see using this across content areas with short answer response questions as well."

Lori also asked her students what they liked about Team Scoot, and here are a few of the responses:
  • Annika:  I loved the way we got to talk together as a team at the end. I think it was a great way to check our answers after we finished our four problems.
  • Jesse:  I liked that we were able to talk about how we got our answers with each other. Even though we had the same answers, we didn't always do the problems in the same way.  
  • Heaven:  This is faster and much more fun than doing review from our book. I like it because it challenged me mentally and got me moving too.
  • Nailea:  I like that you get to move around. That made doing the work more fun than doing an independent worksheet.  I also like how you get to help other students who need help and you can get help from others if you need it.
  • Lisved:  I liked it at the end when we got to discuss our answers and check what was wrong and what was right.  I also liked the part when we had to rotate and move. In fact, I liked everything about this activity and I had a lot of fun the whole entire time.

Task Cards for Team Scoot
If you need task cards for this activity, visit my new Task Card Resources Pinterest Board. You'll find links to sets of task cards as well as games that include task cards you can use with Team Scoot. I just created a set of free task cards for telling time that you'll find pinned to that board. You'll also find information about organizing and storing task cards.

I hope you and your students this new twist on an old favorite. If you try Team Scoot, leave me a comment and let me know how it goes! Thanks to Lori Tanner's class for testing out Scoot and giving it a big thumbs up!


  1. This is a very nice idea. It allows kids to cooperate and explain the exercises to each other in case any of them has a doubt. Thanks a lot for the idea.

  2. I do this! Too funny because a colleague told me years ago that it was a modified Scoot. And I had no idea what that was and now you have described the routine perfectly. Saving this post for link reference on my blog. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. I have a one to one virtual computer lab setting. How could I set up groups of 3 or 4? That would be kinda rough per se.

  4. I've had my second graders work with partners in Scoot games. I love the conversations that they have! Plus, it's so much fun for them!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

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  6. I have never ever used Scoot as an assessment piece. I had been introduced to it as a review strategy. Questions weren't supposed to require detailed responses but would require responses that would be a word, a phrase or a number. Students wouldn't have time to show their work but simply write the answer down. It was supposed to be quick; either they knew the material or they didn't. There was never any marking involved at all. Often answers would be taken up and discussed as a group and any confusion would be clarified at this time. I like your idea and will definitely use it. I think your way can also be used as a review as well which will have teams helping team members who are still confused understand the missing links in their comprehension. Thank you for sharing this. I am excited to use it and will share it with my grade team for sure.

  7. I have used the original idea of Scoot many times! Now that I have learned about Team Scoot, I am full of anticipation! Thank you for this fabulous idea!


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