I knew I wanted to take a non-traditional approach; I knew I wanted to teach Earth Systems Science and not the usual earth-layers-plate tectonics-rocks & minerals-weather-water-space march through the textbook that had been my previous experience with the subject. I am a big fan of Michael Wysession and The Principles of Earth Science Literacy. That philosophy informs everything I do in my class.
After I introduce my students to the idea of Earth Systems, I like to have them play Earth System Jenga as a culminating activity. It is so much fun! It gets a little (maybe a lot) loud, but the kids enjoy it, and they are able to describe impacts and interactions in earth systems.
The lesson is an adaptation of one I found on the Internet, and tweaked to suit my classroom.
I found several sets of the natural colored wooden Jenga blocks - you could use the colored ones as well.
The kids had an out of uniform day when we played. It made the day even more fun :)
I am going to spray paint them before next year for a nicer look.
I found that my 6th graders had a hard time getting the blocks back in the box at the end of the period, so I am storing each set in a large resealable plastic bag.