Three great activities for grades 3-6.
Submitted by Valerie Pritchard, Michael Turner, and Tracy Anderson, Lander University, Greenwood, South Carolina.
Background: Here are three outstanding activities from the students at Lander University!
Head or Catch?
Equipment: Soccer balls
How We Play It: Divide the class into groups of 5-7. Two players from each group are given a soccer ball. The other students in the group form a circle about 12 feet in diameter around the two students in the center. The students with the ball toss it to one of the students on the circle while calling out either “Head” or “Catch.” Students will either head or catch the soccer ball. The game continues with everyone having numerous opportunities to either head or catch the ball. Change tossers throughout the activity. You may also have students use a chest trap, thigh trap, and/or volley the ball back using laces or instep of the foot.
The Wall Game
This drill helps students learn to stay in the fielding position using proper technique. This drill also helps develop endurance for the muscles needed for fielding a ground ball.
Equipment: Tennis balls
How We Play It: Give each student a tennis ball. One student is designated as the Leader. All of the other students line up behind the leader. Using one wall of the gym, the lines faces this wall, standing approximately 15 feet away. On the teacher’s signal, the lead student gets down in the fielding position and tosses the ball underhanded against the wall. The student fields the ball and moves to his right, repeating the entire process down the length of the wall. The student must stay in the fielding position until he reaches the end of the wall. The next student does the same thing on the teacher’s signal and falls in line behind the lead student at the end of the wall. Once all of the students have gone through the drill going in one direction, have the students repeat the drill going in the opposite direction.
Do Your Best! Have the students try to make error-free runs down the wall. This means no “bobbles” or getting out of the fielding position. Also, have the students challenge themselves by seeing how many tosses they can field during one trip down the wall.
Helpful Hints: We use the following cues for fielding with the students.
- Bend knees; stay low.
- Weight on balls of feet.
- “Alligator hands” – field the ball with the “glove hand” down and the throwing hand up, like jaws of an alligator.
- Cradle the ball in.
Also, tell the students to lead themselves with their tosses, so they have to move to the ball using a slide step.
Parachute Integration Ideas
Creative use of the parachute in physical education can bridge the curriculum, integrating themes or units with other subjects. For example:
- Math: Play a game of “Popcorn Soccer” or any other team game that results in scores that can be graphed or be expressed statistically.
- English: Students write description journal entries on their thoughts and feelings while using the parachute. They can also make up peer assessment rubrics.
- Science: Teachers can explain air pressure or other principles of aerodynamics.
- Social Studies: Students discuss teamwork and sportsmanship and how these attributes are important in society.
For more parachute integration ideas and fun parachute dances, please turn to page 45 – The New Parachute Book and CD!