Search form

5-Minute Fillers: Geography, Music, and More

Volume 11

Mystery States
Builds research and geography skills

Challenge teams of students to identify the state(s) from the clues you give. For example: This is the smallest state. (Rhode Island) It is known as the "Sooner State." (Oklahoma) These four states meet in one corner. (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah) This state has more than 11,000 lakes. (Minnesota) It produces more than half the apples grown in the United States. (Washington) It is the "Gem State." (Idaho) The lowest point in the United States is found in this state. (California)

Have you seen Education World's Mystery States Game? We have created five clues for each of the 50 states. The clues are arranged in order of difficulty. Challenge students to figure out the Mystery State by giving one clue a day or all five clues at once. We also have a Mystery Province/Territory Game for our readers in Canada!

La-La That Tune
Builds music and thinking skills

Organize students into two teams. Whisper the name of a familiar song to a student on one team. That student must sing the word la to the song's melody. If the student's team cannot name the song, the opposing team gets a chance to do so. Possible song titles: "Frosty the Snow Man," "Old MacDonald," "This Land Is Your Land," "London Bridge," "Hakuna Matata," "On Top of Old Smokey," "The Ants Go Marching," "It's A Small World," "Yankee Doodle."

Action Alphabet
Builds language (parts of speech) skills

Pose the following question to students to start a lively discussion, or use is as a prompt for a quick journal-writing activity:

What if you could be a professional athlete? What kind of athlete would you most want to be? Why?

Write a letter of the alphabet on each of 30 index cards. Randomly distribute a card to each student. Give students one minute to write on the card a verb that begins with the letter on the card. Then students tell their verb words. Students pass their cards to the next student, who has a minute to write a different verb for the letter. When students are stumped or write words that are not verbs, they must leave the game.

Variation: Have students write nouns or adjectives instead of verbs.

Anagram Puzzles

Anagrams are a terrific tool for stimulating students to think critically. Write the four phrases below on a board or chart. The letters in each phrase can be rearranged to spell a word. The words all have something in common. Challenge students to figure out the four words and what the words have in common.

Adapt the activity for younger students: To make the activity easier, tell students what the words have in common or arrange students in pairs to solve the anagram puzzles.

Answers: Denver, Providence, Tallahassee, and Salt Lake City are all state capitals