Boxes, boxes everywhere: what will be discovered?


On September 8, Victoria Joyner posted this fantastic idea on the English Teachers’ Association facebook page:

Looking for an exciting or memorable way to introduce discovery and demonstrate ideas relating to the discovery process and various consequences of making a discovery? Look no further than a weird version of pass the parcel. Fill the present with quotes, images, or objects- leave the final box empty for anti climax or fill with something significant or influential. Have students reflect on the process and even develop creative writing from the box as a stimulus for discovery.


I have spent the better part of today creating ‘parcels’ for our year 12 classes. After struggling with different size boxes, I decided to wrap each item and quote separately and place them all in one large box – students will choose one to open when the music stops. Music will be at each teacher’s discretion, although we will all start with The Triffid’s Wide Open Road (see earlier post).


Another activity that I find works well in building cohesion is to spend the very first lesson as ‘year 12’ in discussing short and long term goals before each student writes a letter to themselves. These are placed in a box and are opened during the last year 12 lesson. Sue Rowe, a now retired colleague introduced me to this idea some years ago and it has always been a positive experience for both myself and students – both  in the creation and the final celebration.


Let the teaching of English never be dull or boring …

pass the parcel

Student’s thought that:

  • the discovery of an unknown thing: it was really enthralling
  • what a fun and great activity!
  • this form of interactive education was engaging for the entire class and gave us another perspective of learning in a fun and unique way
  • this activity was an exciting way to begin our study – allowing us to really discuss the possible meanings and links to discovery
  • it also allowed a lot of group involvement
  • it created a connection between memories of ‘pass the parcel’ and everyday items
  • items such as the empty cassette case really allowed various concepts of discovery to stick in our minds

pass the parcel 1

This mindmap represents the thoughts and ideas of one class during their parcel passing.

aos mindmap

One class followed this double lesson by bringing their own item to school and sharing their understanding of discovery with other students.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s