This is a sponsored post
When I taught first grade, I had a hanging file folder labeled with each month and inside were manila folders with worksheets for each event during the month. After making my way through the September’s back to school and get to know you activities, I’d move to October. My October folder was thick with fire prevention worksheets.
Teaching in an interdisciplinary school allowed me to integrate themes like fire prevention into my other curriculum areas. During the month, my first graders learned about the role of firefighters and how they protect our homes as part of our social studies unit called “People Need Shelter.” We’d talk about what to do in an emergency at school and then for homework, kids would go home, talk with their parents, and make a map to show their escape route and family’s meeting place to accompany our geography lessons. We read books like Dot the Fire Dog, Clifford the Firehouse Dog, The Fire Cat, Richard Scarry’s Day at the Fire Station, and so many more.
These days learning in the classroom looks far different than it did back in 1998 thanks to modern technology.
Today’s classroom uses laptops to enhance classroom instruction rather than having the class visit a computer lab. There are interactive smart boards that allow the kids to interact with the content during a whole group lesson plant. Tablets allow kids to access multimedia apps to further their learning.
If I were still teaching first grade, chances are I would have written a grant to fund tablets in my classroom so I could use apps like Sparky’s Brain Busters with my students.
About Sparkys’ Brain Busters
Developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Sparky’s Brain Busters is free a trivia app for iOS and Android that involves a race against the clock. Kids are challenged to answer 20 questions in 2 minutes to earn badges in various categories like science, math, fire safety, social studies, and Sparky’s choice. Kids are motivated to collect all 5 character badges before time runs out. 3 correct answers lets them play for the character of their choice by answering age appropriate questions for their grade level.
Playing Sparky’s Brain Busters
The first time kids sit down to play the app, it asks for their name and photo to create a personalized experience. Using your smartphone’s camera, snap a photo or if your child is feeling shy, use one of the fun avatars instead.
The next screen lets kids specify the mode of game play. There are multiple player modes including solo, multiplayer, or classroom.
Kids playing by themselves can choose among three different levels: Rookies, Stars, or Legends that provide age appropriate questions. After taking a look at each of the levels, I’d recommend the following levels for each grade:
- Rookies- Grades 2-3
- Stars- Grades 4-5
- Legends- Grades 6 and above
Multiplayer play allows kids to join a game or host a game. These options are great for classroom use or at home among siblings or friends since multiple users can play together on the same WiFi network to have a friendly competition.
Game play is intuitive since kids are instantly drawn to spinning the wheel. Pressing the SPIN circle in the center of the wheel gets the game started. Children may get questions about science, social studies, fire safety, math, science, or the grab bag called Sparky’s Choice. With questions that range from video games, math facts, how to stay safe in a fire, vocabulary questions including social studies terminology, and history, the content is varied to keep kids interested in game play.
Positive reinforcement is provided when questions are answered correctly as Correct flashes on the top of the screen in large letters. If a child answers incorrectly, they will see Incorrect at the top of the screen and the correct response highlighted in green.
Kids are incentivized to earn all five character badges in two minutes to win but I appreciate that when the time runs out, players aren’t made to feel badly or as if they’ve failed.
Additional Resources to Accompany Game Play or National Fire Prevention Week Lessons
Teachers who are looking for resources to accompany National Fire Prevention Week lessons and parents who want to have this discussion about safety with their children will appreciate the Sparky’s School House site that features and these lesson plans. We Are Teachers also has a 7 minute video on The Chicago Fire of 1871 by best-selling author Lauren Tarshsis of the ‘I Survived’ book series. During the video she talks about lessons learned from the Great Chicago Fire.
Sparky’s Brain Busters is a fun trivia type app with multiple levels of game play and different modes that allow for individual, group, and classroom play. It encourages kids to think while reinforces learning in a positive way.
This post was written as part of a compensated partnership with We Are Teachers. All opinions are my own. Amazon affiliate links are included in this post. Images are courtesy of NFPA.