French Speakers Head Downtown for The Amazing Race

French students at the Middle School are learning about places, towns and how to effectively navigate a city using directions, so what better way to learn than by putting their language skills into practice? A hands-on field trip, Amazing Race-style, saw our Grade 8 students recently head into downtown Victoria to complete challenges and make their way across the city – completement en français!

Teachers say the experiential field trip was a success, as the students all enjoyed themselves and were all able to complete at least some of the challenges. Among the French-language tasks were ordering French food, following directions in French, learning and performing folk dances, and documenting specific information in French. As well, students gained some 21st Century skills, like how to communicate effectively as a team, adapting to new and unfamiliar situations, and delegating work as a group.

SMUS-MS-AmazingRace-French-01Student Reflections

“On April 28, all of the Grade 8 students went downtown to compete in our version of The Amazing Race. We were given about 90 minutes to complete a series of challenges in French that ranged from math questions to checking our heart rate. My favourite challenge was to set up a tent outside the Royal B.C. Museum. I really liked this challenge because our team had to do something together and we all could contribute, which made it different from many of the other challenges. For many of the challenges, one person would take the lead and it was always interesting to see who would, so it was a good way to learn each other’s strengths. One of the things that I found difficult was finding everything. My team wasn’t very good at navigating through downtown, which certainly made it much harder. I wish we had looked at a map of downtown before and become more familiar with the streets and where places are, such as City Hall. If we knew where things were, then we wouldn’t have taken as much time trying to find the places and more time completing challenges. I had so much fun doing this and I would definitely want to do it again.” – by Lizzie B.

“You’ve probably heard of The Amazing Race. There is an Amazing Race Canada and different international ones, too. Recently my classmates and I competed in our very own SMUS French Amazing Race. One thing that made our amazing race so enjoyable was how much independence we were given. We simply got a map, a few questions and we were off around downtown Victoria! My favourite task that our group had to do was build a tent because we had to demonstrate good teamwork. While we were working our way through the challenges, I learned that I work better in a group than on my own. The Amazing Race was, well, amazing. The advice I would give to students doing it next year is to be respectful and polite to everyone you meet while you are downtown.” – by Max N.

SMUS-MS-AmazingRace-French-04“Enfin, le jour est arrivé pour la Course Spectaculaire. Nous sommes partis de l’école vers 12h15 et nous sommes arrivés à notre destination secrète au musée de la Colombie-Britannique. Il faisait très ensoleillée et nous avions hâte de commencer. Nous avons dû faire les tâches divers, par exemple, nous avons dû monte une tente, nous avons couru au tariff d’échange et aussi nous avons cherché un restaurant. Quand notre groupe a commence à monter la tente, nous avons eu un début difficile, mais chaque fois que la tente est tombée, nous avons commencé à comprendre les choses en tant que groupe. Nous avons appris à co-operer et à terminer rapidement les tâches. Après ça, nous avons couru au bureau d’échange où nous devions comprendre combien d’Euros il y avait dans un dollar. C’était très facile parce que tous les renseignements ont été écrit sur la porte du bureau d’échange. Aussi le groupe est allé rencontrer Monsieur Newman. Là, nous avons appris comment faire et défaire les noeuds. En général, cette expérience était fantastique et il devait être une activité qu’on refait à l’école au future.” – par Mareya V.

“A couple of Thursdays ago, my grade took part in The Amazing Race. The race itself took place in downtown Victoria, however, there was a bit of preparation that had to be completed beforehand in our French classes. Our goal for the race was to complete the three different ‘zones’ as a team within the afternoon, as well as record answers to questions about downtown on our sheet. Oh, and did I mention we had to speak French the entire time? That was definitely a challenge! Despite the fact that we could only speak and write en français, I certainly enjoyed myself. I loved the fact that it was based off of the TV show The Amazing Race because it definitely added an extra adrenaline rush. My favourite activity was the one where we had to play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” on a small xylophone. Everyone started to panic when we realized we had no idea how the tune went, or even how to play the instrument in the first place. Fortunately, Jessica (a member of our group) stepped forward, and proved that over 10 years of piano lessons sure can pay off. She managed to play the whole song correctly the first time, so we were able to move onto our next activity, while the group before us struggled to get through the first notes of the song. I think after that experience, as a group, we learned that working together is the best way to overcome each challenge. Overall, I had a great experience; running around town with my peers was exhilarating, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say we had an absolutely amazing time.” – by Makayla L.

(photos by Kyle Slavin)

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Kyle Slavin
Kyle Slavin is the school's storyteller. Through words and photos, he shares with the community all the amazing things that happen on campus.

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