Here are some good lead-up games for grades 5-8.
Submitted by Jerry Scicchitano, Newport News, Virginia.
We often use game stations with our middle school students. A purpose of these stations is to allow the students to practice their skills in a somewhat relaxed and semi-competitive atmosphere. We divide the students into five groups and assign each group to one of five game stations. Each group will rotate through the five stations. The students have about 6 minutes at each station and really seem to enjoy this mini-game format!
Soccer Pool: This game resembles a giant game of pool. The first player gets to “break” by kicking the soccer ball (cue ball) into the volleyballs. Like a game of pool, if a volleyball is knocked into a hoop, the player gets another turn. The game continues with the other players taking turns to kick the “cue ball” so that it knocks a volleyball into one of the six hoops (pockets).
The volleyballs are numbered 1-10. When a ball is knocked into a hoop, points are scored.
For example, if the #6 ball is hit into a hoop, that player scores 6 points. There are no boundary lines for this game, so balls that are “off the table” can still be knocked into a hoop for a score!
Hot Shot!: In this activity, the players “number off” so that they are in a designated shooting order for the entire game. The game begins with each of the students shooting from the 2-point arc.
If a basket is made, that player moves to the 4-point arc. This player does not get another shot, but gives the ball to the next player. If the shot is not made, the player stays put.
For example, if the first player makes a basket, he moves to the 4-point arc. The rest of the players shoot in order – moving to the next arc if the basket is good, or remaining if the basket was not made.
This continues until a player makes a basket at the 12 point arc, or until it is time to rotate to the next game station.
500: This is another fun game that our students really enjoy. One player starts as the quarterback. This player stands behind a designated throwing line. The rest of the players are 30 or more feet away.
The player with the football throws it high into the air and yells out a point value – 25, 50, 100, 200, etc.
The student who catches the football receives that point value. The first person to accumulate 500 points becomes the next quarterback. We encourage all of the students to make sure this game is exciting and fair.
Teacher Note: One of the better ways to keep this game exciting is for the quarterback to use this series of points: 25, 50, 100, 200, 250. The 250 point throw is the “bonus” throw where points are doubled. This would allow a player with few points to catch this ball and become the next quarterback!
First Down: This game can be used if you have large classes so that there are six or more players per station. The students are divided into two teams. One team starts off with the football. The object of this game is to stay inside the designated playing area and try to complete four consecutive passes to your teammates. Then this occurs, a “first down” is made and the game is over.
The game begins again with the other team having the football. Balls can be intercepted or knocked down. Once a team loses possession of the football, the ball is given to the other team.
Variation: Use this game if your students want to make this activity a bit more competitive. All of the players have flag football belts. In this game a player with the football can lose his or her flag. When a flag is lost, the player is out of the game. This game is played until a “first down” is made, or when there is only one player left on the other team.
Roly Poly: The batter tosses the ball in the air and hits it into the field. If the ball travels less than 20 feet, the bat is held upright and the student who retrieved the ball must roll the ball and hit the bat. If the bat is hit, the two players change places. If the ball is hit more than 20 feet, the bat is placed on its side and the ball is rolled toward home, trying to hit the bat.
A player catching a fly ball automatically becomes the new batter.