They don't eat bugs; they don't vote anybody off; and their strategy is teamwork.
But all the other elements of the CBS reality-TV show Survivor are being used by Martinez Elementary School fourth-graders who work in teams during physical education class to win games and earn beads.
"It's been good for cooperation and teamwork," said Kim Cave, the physical education teacher at Martinez Elementary. "But they've also dealt with a good bit of frustration. When you've got one team member who blows it, the team has got to bring him around."
The fourth-graders will be using the theme for the entire semester, participating in one challenge each week. While the winner of CBS' Survivor will get $1 million, the Martinez Elementary tribe that earns the most beads will win an original Survivor T-shirt.
"There are challenges, and we have to work as a team," said Tomahawk tribe member Patrick Frits. "You get beads for the challenges you complete."
The theme has been used in other classes. Each tribe had to come up with a name and a logo, which they painted on T-shirts during art class. Among the tribes are Ohanus, Barramundi, Iroquois, Tomahawks and Shrikes.
Teams could even choose their own tribe members, but they had guidelines: three girls, three boys, one big, one small and one smart (good reader).
That strategy paid off Tuesday, when among the three games was "The Pass," which required team members to pass along their smallest member.
"The smallest one didn't feel like he was the smallest one. We were about to drop him," Iroquois tribe member Tyler Lane said after completing the challenge and earning a bead.
Other games that day required team members to make a raft out of mats and scooters and glide across the floor using poles. But all the members had to be on the raft, and no body parts could touch the floor.
In another game, half of the team got on one side of a balance beam, and half got on the other. They had to walk across the beam and pass each other, ultimately trading places.
Not all the challenges are physical. There was a memory game, and a community service game in which team members could earn a bead by giving up recess for a day to clean up trash around the school, Ms. Cave said.
Even though the pupils have had fun with the Survivor theme, few said they would want to be a contestant on the show. Hannah Brown, a member of the Shrikes tribe, was one of those.
"I wouldn't want to eat all those nasty bugs," she said.
Reach Melissa Hall at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 113, or firstname.lastname@example.org.