At-Home Lessons


Solar System Collection

Introduction:  This game is a combination of a scavenger hunt and a relay race involving planets within the solar system. The student(s) will be running back and forth trying to collect a card for each planet and the Sun and then put them in order. This game will help reinforce the names as well as the order of the planets in our solar system. Depending on the size of your class (one or two), you will want to have at least 45 cards (five cards per planet and five cards for the Sun), but more can be used to increase the difficulty.



  • A large open space (such as a gym, field, backyard, or even living room)

  • Solar system card set that includes the sun (at least 45 cards)

    • To create the set, find pictures of the planets and resize them so they are about the size of a playing card. The planets should not have the name on the picture.


Prior Knowledge: The student(s) should have had the first Great Lesson



  • The student(s) should be on one side of the playing area, and the cards should be on the other side face down.

  • Before beginning the game, take time to show the cards to the student(s). The cards should not have the names on them, but instead the students should try and remember the pictures by the colors and landmarks.

  • The student(s) retrieve one card from the other side of the playing area at a time.  They are not allowed to turn the card over and look at it until they bring the card back to their side. When the student gets back, they will look at the card together and if it’s a card they need, they keep it. They repeat the process and run to the other side of the playing area to retrieve a new card.

  • When the student brings back a card that they already have, they need to run the card back to the group of cards, place it face down, and grab a new card.

  • The student is only able to get one card at a time. When a new card is brought back, they should arrange the planet cards in order so they can identify which cards they still need.

  • A student is successful when they have all the cards and they are in order starting with the Sun.



·      Direct:    To reinforce the names and the order of the planets

·      Indirect:   Memory

·      Physical Skills: Running, stopping, and changing direction


Control Of Error: 

·      The instructor and the cards


Points of Interest: The large number of cards in the playing area and the difficulty of finding all the cards


The original individual lesson can be found here.


Planet Distance


This game is an impressionistic lesson on the distances of the planets from the Sun. The student will do a lot of running that will represent how far it would take to travel to get from the Sun to each planet. This lesson will create a lasting impression of the great distances between the planets through the effort exerted during the lesson. Because there is so much running involved, this will also give you plenty of time to observe your student(s) running gait to see if they are doing anything abnormal.


Materials:  A large open space (such as a gym or field)


Prior Knowledge: Introduction to planets and solar system



  • Begin with a quick conversation of distance. Ask the students to think how many miles their house is from the school. How many miles is it to their grandparents house? How many miles is it to one of the major coastal cities (LA or New York)? Explain to the students that some of those places are very far away and would take hours by plane or days by car. However, these distances are tiny compared to the distances of the planets from the Sun.

  • Next introduce the concept of a kilometer. Most children are familiar with miles, but some may not have heard of kilometers. A popular example is 5k running events, which some students have may have actually done. A 5k is just a little more than a three-mile run. With that in mind, see if any of the kids can make a good guess as to how far one kilometer is compared to miles. The answer is about 2/3 of a mile (more exact is .62).

  • The last conversion for the students to understand is kilometers to feet. One kilometer is about 3,280 feet.

  • Now, explain to the students that the starting position of where they will begin running will represent the Sun. They are going to run the distances from the Sun to the different planets! Hopefully, some will say that is impossible, so explain that they are only going to have to run fraction of those distances. For every 100 million kilometers, they only have to run 1 kilometer.

  • Use whatever large space you may have like a backyard, driveway, or even a public park with a track. For this example we are going to use 75 feet. Whatever setting you have, some division and conversion will need to happen so you can explain to the students how far they have to run for each planet (in feet).

  • Here are the distances that the students will need to run in feet:

    • Mercury is 190 feet (2.5 lengths)

    • Venus is 354 feet (4.75 lengths)

    • Earth is 492 feet (6.5 lengths)

    • Mars is 748 feet (10 lengths)

    • Jupiter is 2552 feet (34 lengths)

    • Saturn is 4691 feet (62 lengths)

    • Uranus is 9416 feet (125 lengths)

    • Neptune is 14,763 feet (197 lengths)

  • After the first four planets, the distances increase significantly. This lesson may have to be spread out for multiple days.

  • After the run, explain to the student(s) that because the distances from the planets and the sun are so long, sometimes astronomers use a unit of measurement called an AU. This stands for astronomical unit, and one unit is the distance from the Sun to the Earth. Here are the planets listed in their astronomical units:

    • Mercury - 0.39

    • Venus – 0.72

    • Earth - 1

    • Mars – 1.52

    • Jupiter – 5.2

    • Saturn – 9.54

    • Uranus – 19.2

    • Neptune – 30.1

  • Finally, the instructor can present the idea of a light year, which is used for measuring things outside of our solar system.



Direct:    To reinforce the names of the planets and build appreciation for the distances between them

Indirect:   To learn about distance conversions


Physical Skills practiced:

Running (especially in watching running form and technique)


Control Of Error:  The instructor and the student(s) keeping track of the distance they have run


Points of Interest:

Common abnormal running patterns:

  • Excessive leaning forward with certain steps may be weak gluteus muscle activation. Have the students try and run “tall.”

  • Excessive leaning back with certain steps may be overly tight hamstrings

  • Students may be over striding, or taking too big of steps when running

  • If students are swinging one or both legs around as they run, this is a problem due to the hip adductors

  • If students look like they are stomping, have them try and make contact with the ball of their foot when running

  • If a student is toe walking or running, they may need to work on flexibility of the Achilles tendon to prevent unnecessary falls.

  • Students should keep their arms forward, not going side to side when running.


The original individual lesson can be found here.

Planet Distance (Home Version 2.0)


Introduction:  This game is an impressionistic lesson on the distances of the planets from the Sun. The student will do a lot of pushups, half pushups, or planks that will represent how far it would take to travel to get from the Sun to each planet. This lesson will create a lasting impression of the great distances between the planets through the effort exerted during the lesson.


Materials:  A small open space like a living room or bedroom


Prior Knowledge: Introduction to planets and solar system



·      Begin with a quick conversation of distance. Ask the students to think how many miles their house is from the school. How many miles is it to their grandparent’s house? How many miles is it to one of the major coastal cities (LA or New York)? Explain to the students that some of those places are very far away and would take hours by plane or days by car. However, these distances are tiny compared to the distances of the planets from the Sun.

·      Next introduce the concept of a kilometer. Most children are familiar with miles, but some may not have heard of kilometers. A popular example is 5k running events, which some students have may have actually done. A 5k is just a little more than a three-mile run. With that in mind, see if any of the kids can make a good guess as to how far one kilometer is compared to miles. The answer is about 2/3 of a mile (more exact is .62).

·      Now it is time explain to the student(s) that because the distances from the planets and the sun are so long, sometimes astronomers use a unit of measurement called an AU. This stands for astronomical unit, and one unit is the distance from the Sun to the Earth. Here are the planets listed in their astronomical units:

o   Mercury - 0.39

o   Venus – 0.72

o   Earth - 1

o   Mars – 1.52

o   Jupiter – 5.2

o   Saturn – 9.54

o   Uranus – 19.2

o   Neptune – 30.1

·      Now, explain to the student(s) that the distance from the tip of their finger to their shoulder is going to be one AU. They are going to travel from the Sun to every planet in the solar system by using pushups to travel one AU each pushup. If the student cannot do a full push up, then they can do half push ups off of their knees. If this is still too difficult, they can hold a plank, and each second is an AU.

·      The first two planets are less than an AU, so they will only have to do a mini-pushup for Mercury and Venus. Earth is one push up because the distance from the Earth to the Sun is the definition of an astronomical unit (AU). Mars is only one and a half push ups. After that, the number of pushups goes up a lot, and that is where the challenge really begins.

·      For “extra credit,” Pluto is about forty AU’s away from the Sun.



Direct:    To reinforce the names of the planets and build appreciation for the distances between them

Indirect:   To learn about astronomical units (AUs)


Physical Skills practiced:

Push Ups or plank holds (depending on the capability of the student)


Control Of Error:  The instructor and the student(s) keeping track of the distance


Points of Interest:

They are going to be tired and sore after this lesson, which will build appreciation for the distance of the planets from the Sun.


The original individual lesson can be found here.


Planet Scale


Introduction: This is an impressionistic game that helps children understand planet size. This game uses basketball (or other spherical sports balls) and geometry to compare the sizes of planets in our solar system. Basketballs will represent either moons or planets, and each made basket will be added to the sum the sum total that it takes to create the planet. This game can be very exciting when a student finally builds one of the massive planets.



  • If using a basketball hoop and basketballs

    • If there is one installed in a driveway or on a garage, that will work

  • If you are using a large container (i.e. garbage can or 55-gallon container)

    • The player can throw something smaller like a tennis ball

  • If space is very limited like a living room and laundry basket

    • The player can shoot bundled up socks or balled up piece of paper



Prior Knowledge: Introduction to planets and solar system



  • ·      Begin with an explanation of congruence, similarity, and equivalence. To demonstrate congruence, use two identical balls and explain that these are the same size and shape; they are identical. Similarity requires the ball you will use and a smaller ball of the same basic shape (sphere). For the explanation of equivalence, find two things that have the same mass but are not the same shape.

  • The student will start at the hoop or whatever target they are aiming at. 

  • When the instructor says, “go,” the student(s) begin shooting their basketballs.  Once the basketball goes in, the child retrieves it and passes it to the next person in line (if there is one).  They then shoot the basketball until they score.

  • Explain that the ball is going to be equivalent to the Earth’s moon. Every time they make a basket, they are creating the same mass as the moon.

  • Mercury is equivalent to about three Earth moons.  Venus and Earth are each equivalent to about forty-nine moons.  Mars would be equivalent to about eight moons. 

  • Once we get to Jupiter, take a break to explain to the students how many more moons this planet is going to take. Jupiter is equivalent to about 64,729 moons.  Saturn is equivalent to about 37,387 moons.  Uranus is equivalent to about 3,087 moons, and Neptune is equivalent to 2,827 moons.

  • Because it would essentially be impossible for the student to complete 64,729 baskets in the time allotted for PE class or that their interest could take, the scale of the basketball needs to be changed from Earth moons to Earth’s.  This would change Jupiter to 1,321 baskets, Saturn to 763 baskets, and Uranus to 63 baskets, and finally Neptune to 57 baskets.

  • The children will most likely not finish the whole solar system during the first lesson, so the game will be continued to the next P.E. session. 

  • Once the task is complete, the teacher should give the students an extra challenge of making the equivalent baskets for the Sun.  It would approximately 1.3 million baskets to create the Sun!  This will be met with groans or wows, so the children would obviously not try to complete that challenge but appreciate how impossibly large the Sun is compared to planets in our solar system.



Direct:    To reinforce the names of the planets as well as create an understanding of their size

Indirect:   To learn the term equivalence, similarity, and congruence


Physical Skills practiced:

·      Holding and shooting a basketball

·      Throwing motions if they are not using a basketball but another type of sports ball

·      Running


Control Of Error:  The instructor and the student counting


Points of Interest: The number of baskets it takes to find equivalence to larger planets

You can find the original lesson here.


Timeline of Life Animal Movements


 Animals move in variety of different ways.  Some leap, others waddle, many are on four legs, other animals slither; there are a variety of movement patterns.  Most children are familiar with many different types of animals, and are familiar with how they move.  Asking children what their favorite animals are will produce a rich variety that can be used for the relays. This can be a fun and interactive research project for the student and the instructor as they look at all the different eras and the animals that lived during that time frame and create fun movement patterns to mimic how that animal might have moved.

Many adults hear the word “race,” and they automatically feel anxiety because they think of their past experiences of being the slowest.  Often the competition of racing ruins the experience when it could be fun for everyone.  However, this relay race format can encourage participation and encouragement for those who are working hard and perfecting their animal’s specific movement pattern.  Because many of these movements are not “typical,” some of the typical slower children for typical running may not be the slowest for another movement pattern like crawling, etc.  Since this version of the game is being played at home, there probably won’t be much competition for the student(s), so this fear is reduced. The instructor and student can focus more on comparing which movements the student was the fastest.



·      An open space (field, backyard, living room)

·      Pictures of animals that will be used in the race


Prior Knowledge: The First and Second Great Lesson



1.     Determine the distance that the student will travel back and forth from for their relay race.

2.     Explain the directions to the children. “We are going to have a relay race that goes throughout the Earth’s history. When I say go, travel all the way to the other side, stop, touch the ground with your hand, and then come back.”  Make sure to demonstrate every movement before the student races.

3.     The first warm-up race should just normal running. Afterwards, introduce the first animal and demonstrate its movement pattern. To connect this lesson to the timeline of life or the clock of eras, have animal examples from each time period researched and ready. Here are some examples included in this lesson (but feel free to add others):

a.     Cambrian Era – Trilobites (army crawl)

b.    Ordovician Period – Sea Stars (crawl with arms and legs spread out as far as possible)

c.     Silurian Period – Trigonotarbid Arachnoids (lobster walk)

d.    Devonian period – Mites (bear crawl, but the student needs to balance their upper body on their fingertips instead of the palm of their hand to replicate delicate arachnid legs)

e.     Carboniferous Period – Scorpion (army crawl with one leg held as high as possible to represent the stinger)

f.      Permian Period – Dimetrodon (bear crawl, but have the student balance something on their back to simulate walking with a giant sail)

g.     Triassic – Staurikosaurus (students will stand crouched on two feet and arms bent in front. They should run similar to the gate of an ostrich; make sure the head and neck go back and forth)

h.    Jurassic – Allosaurus (stomping chicken walk)

i.      Cretaceous – Velociraptor (hopping chicken walk)

j.      Cenozoic – Saber Tooth Cats (lunging on hands and feet) and wooly mammoth (bear crawl)

k.    Neozoic – Take suggestions from the students (cats, dogs, horses, humans, etc)



Direct:    For the children to practice different movements


Listening to directions




Physical skills practiced:  Depending on the animals’ chosen, there will many gross motor movements engaged which challenge flexibility and balance as well as power.


Control Of Error: 

The teacher


Points of Interest: The unique movement patterns of the chosen animals and the difficulty in replicating that movement for the races will keep the children engaged.  This lesson should be tailored to whatever animal lessons are being given in the class.  If the teacher wants to reinforce the names of dinosaurs and their movements, then the teacher could bring the same pictures of the dinosaurs the children have seen in class and use the specific names and terminology.  If the class is studying animals from a certain continent of biome, again the teacher should have pictures available and should use the same terminology in the PE lesson.


Age: 6-9

The original lesson can be found here


Adaption Obstacle Course

 Introduction:  During the Second Great lesson (Coming of Life), students focus the majority of their study on different timelines, especially in lower elementary. When considering the origins of life, as well as the large variety of life on Earth, one must consider the role of mutation and adaptation. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution does an excellent job of describing how organisms have mutations as they reproduce, and sometimes these mutations give an advantage over similar organisms. Having that advantage means that there is a better chance that the genes containing the mutation will be passed on, and slowly that advantageous mutation becomes the common characteristic of that type of organism. Over time, a new species of the organism develops when differences between the original species became too vast.

The students will be playing an obstacle course game where the obstacles become more difficult the farther the student goes.  Each student will only be equipped with certain movement patterns per obstacle, and through random selection (literally a coin flip), some students must one type of locomotion, while other students receive an adaption, which may enable them to move on to the next category. This game will show how organism’s adaptations help them over time in surviving their environment.



·      An open space (like a backyard, field, or living room)

·      Deck of playing cards

·      Cones or even balled up socks to make boundary lanes

·      Coin

Prior Knowledge: The 9-12 students should be familiar with the Second Great Lesson.



·      Depending on the space that is being used to play the game, all the obstacles could already be in place for the student to preview, or the first obstacle is the only one set up. Each station represents a new environment. The first station should have a lane for the student to crawl through. If the student is successful, they move on to the next station. If they are not successful, they get to try it again. Make a time limit that is appropriate for the space and setting that you have available (small spaces 10-20 seconds, larger spaces 1 minute). The obstacles at each station should be arranged so that they are very difficult to complete with the initial movement allowed. However, if a student flips the coin and it is tails, then they will have the mutation, which allows them to use another movement pattern that will make it much easier to complete the task.

·      The first station will be a long trail (made with cones or socks) just wider than shoulder width of the student. The student is trying to get from the start of the trail to the end. However, they must wriggle like a worm by keeping their arms and legs together. Make the path should be winding for increased difficulty, and the students are not allowed to touch a cone or they must start over. If a student successfully flips the coin, they will get the mutation from a wormlike animal that grew fin-like appendages that can be used for a crawl.

·      The second station will resemble a cone minefield that the students will have to traverse without touching any of the cones. The cones should be placed close to each other to create a distinct path that the student can crawl through. However, the path should be winding, and the students are not allowed to touch a cone or they must start over. The original mode of locomotion is the army crawl, unless they flip the coin and get the mutation of being able to do a bear crawl. Once the student can bear crawl, they won’t have to stay along the course because they can bear crawl over the cones, making it significantly easier. This will resemble animals on land having true appendages that help elevate their body off the ground.

·      The third station will have students jump from one area to another to be successful. There will be cones that show where the student must leap from in the beginning. Initially, the student will have to jump from all fours like a frog. If the student flips the coin correctly, they will mutate so that they can stand on two feet and run and jump like they would normally do. The distance that the students have to jump should be difficult, but can be adjusted if the teacher realizes that the students cannot make the distance even while standing on two legs. This station represents the idea of primates evolving to early humans who are able to stand upright.

·      The last station of the game there will be playing cards lying flat on the ground. The job of the student is to build a card tower that is at least 3 cards tall. The students must keep all their fingers together (as well as their thumbs). If the student successfully flips the coin for the mutation, they will be able to separate their fingers and use them as normal. This is representing the importance of the mutation of opposable thumbs for grasping.

·      It is totally possible that you will have students who can complete a task without needing the mutation, and that is fine. This is an example of an animal that can thrive in more than one environment. This may or may not happen during the game, but is still worth mentioning.



Direct:    Demonstrate how beneficial mutations become adaptations, which aid in survival

Indirect:   Perseverance


Physical Skills practiced:

·      Various forms of crawling

·      Jumping

·      Fine motor hand skills


Control Of Error:  The teacher, coin, and possibly a stopwatch


Points of Interest: Each station will be an almost impossible challenge until some get the mutation that makes the task easier. Some students may be determined to succeed even without the mutation, and others will beg the dice to help them mutate.


Age: 6-9 and 9-12

The original lesson can be found here


Hunting and Gathering


When studying humans, we learn that all humans have the same fundamental needs, but they can be fulfilled in different ways.  Everyone requires shelter, but those shelters can look very different depending on the era or environment.  Everyone wears clothing, but that clothing can look very different depending on climate, religion, and decoration.  Everyone requires food, but there are a variety of styles of cooking, as well as different plants and animals available for consumption.

In the past, before grocery stores and modern farming, all humans had to work very hard to collect their food.  In the time of early humans, they started primarily as hunters and gatherers.  Foraging and gathering food was the easiest and least risky way of obtaining food, but a lot was needed to feed a group of people.  Hunting small game was typically not very risky, but required skill or ingenuity, and was more difficult than foraging. However, small game provided complete protein and could feed more people.  Finally, there was big game hunting, which was the riskiest way of obtaining food but also had the greatest reward.  High levels of skill, bravery, and patience were needed for big game hunting, and the threat of danger was very high because the hunter could be killed.  If the hunt was not successful, the whole tribe could starve, but if the hunters were successful, it yielded large amounts of meat and supplies (hide, bones, etc.).  This game will simulate the risk versus reward aspect of hunting and gathering. 

The decisions the student makes will ultimately affect the score of the round, which represents the food collected.  Strategies can be discussed afterwards to see what was successful or not.  The game revolves around the idea of risk and reward, and either the child will decide to try a hard skill worth many points, or go for the easier skill but less valuable skill.  A student can be successful if they complete low risk scores only, but the temptation to go for big scores is hard to ignore.  There might be times when going for big points is necessary so the student can make up a deficit.  Either way, it will be interesting to record what the child decides to do.



A large container (55 gallon trash containers work well)

A ball that can be thrown, bounced, and punted easily (a soccer ball or kick ball work well)


 Prior Knowledge: The students should know about the Fundamental Needs of humans.  



1.     Place the large container in a certain spot and have the student line up with it starting a certain distance from the container.  The distance the children are from the container depends on their strength and athleticism.  The children should be able to hit the container with the ball from where they are standing.

2.     Explain to the student that they are hunter-gathers that need to collect food for their tribe.  Their goal is to achieve a certain score before the end of the round (for example, 20 points in 1 minutes).  The score represents the food that they have collected for the group.  Throwing the ball into the container gets them a score of 1 point.  It is the easiest way of scoring points, and represents gathering and foraging.  Bouncing the ball into the container is worth 3 points, and this represents catching or hunting a small animal.  Punting the ball represents the hunting a big animal, and if successful is worth 5 points.  The score for throwing, bouncing, or punting can be adjusted for the game, but throwing should be the least amount of points, bouncing should be the middle range, and punting is the hardest and worth the most.

3.     Whether the student is successful or not, they should retrieve the ball and go back to the starting point and try again.  The student should keep track of their score.

4.     Once the time is up and the round is over, discuss what strategy the student used and whether it was successful in reaching the final score.  The instructor should talk about hunting seasons, and relate the time limit within the game to the time limit that early humans had when gathering adequate amounts of food. 



Direct:    For the children understand the risk versus reward in food gathering practices with early humans


Listening to directions


Testing strategy


 Physical skills practiced:  Throwing, bouncing, and punting a ball


Control Of Error: 

The teacher and whether the ball is in the bucket


Points of Interest: Besides the activity of throwing, bouncing, and punting a ball, the children will be engaged in deciding what strategy would be best.  The quick discussions afterwards may help the team decide what changes they can make for their next attempt.


Age: 6-9

 The original lesson can be found here. 


Human Body: Digestive System 


            The digestive system is one of the most important systems of our body.  Its main function is to take food that we ingest and break it down so we can convert it into chemical energy.  The digestive system is not only crucial to our immediate survival, but a well functioning digestive system can bring lifelong health and wellbeing.  Problems with the digestive system can bring terrible chronic disease. Many problems and insufficiencies stem from a malfunctioning digestive, but that can be hard to diagnose. Food allergies (major or minor) can also hurt our ability to digest food, as well as inflame our digestive system.

The main function of this lesson is to get the students to see how our body takes food (which is made up of fats, carbs, protein, and more) and breaks it into smaller pieces for absorption. The student will simulate each part of the digestive system, and how well the food is digested depends on how well each part of the digestive does its job. Play the game and find out how well you digest food!



·      Lots of building blocks (Legos for example) with seven different colors.

o   Protein – Red (Like red meat)

o   Fat – Yellow (Like butter)

o   Carbs – White (Like sugar)

o   Fiber – Brown (Like brown rice, but the brown color will also serve as the color of feces at the end of the game)

o   Vitamins – Green (Like veggies that contain lots of vitamins)

o   Minerals – Grey (Like metal)

o   Water – Blue

Jump Rope



Prior Knowledge:

            The students should have had some type of introductory lesson on the human body.  It would be even better if the students have done some work on body systems, specifically the digestive system.



·      The lesson begins by introducing the main parts of the digestive system.  The first part is the mouth, where chewing literally breaks up food into smaller pieces.  The broken food travels down the esophagus to the stomach, where food is broken into pieces mechanically through crushing (contraction like movement via smooth muscle) and chemically by the acids and enzymes.  Next, the majority of the nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine.  Finally, in the large intestine, good bacteria digest fibers and water is extracted.

·      The instructor should decide what time interval to run the game/simulation. A good interval to use is one-minute rounds, but depending on how much time the instructor has for the game, slightly longer or shorter may be acceptable.

·      The teacher should have several large structures made up of various Legos or other building blocks.  These structures are going to represent food that we eat.  The teacher should explain that foods we eat are various combinations of protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water. Chicken, for example, would be a combination of water, protein, fat, and some vitamins and minerals. Bread would be carbohydrates, fat, fiber, water, and some vitamins and minerals. The teacher can make specific foods with the correct macro and micro nutrient profiles (combination of Legos), but it does not have to go that far in depth for the lesson to be successful.

·      The Lego structure (food) starts in the mouth.  The student’s job will be to break the large structure into smaller pieces.  To replicate a chewing action, the student will jump rope. For every ten successful jumps, they get to cleave the food structure in one place. If needed, the instructor can give a hint to the students that they should cleave the food structure closer to the middle, and not worry about trying to break off individual pieces.


·      In the next round, the Legos are delivered to small intestine, whether they were completely broken up or not.  The job of the small intestine is to sort and absorb the individual pieces they need and deliver the rest to the large intestine.  The small intestine player is looking for individual pieces of protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, and minerals. The small intestine player must be a in a plank or pushup position, and when the instructor says, “go,” began taking the macronutrients and micronutrients that it can absorb, and toss water, fiber, and any pieces that are stuck together into a separate pile for the large intestine. Any Legos that are attached to another Lego cannot be absorbed by the small intestine because they were not broken down enough by the stomach. Any Lego pieces that were absorbed by the end of the round will be delivered to large intestine as well.

·      The large intestines job is to collect the fiber blocks and remove the water blocks from the remainder of the food that is delivered to them.  This mini-game will have one student with their eyes closed and the instructor sitting by the student and the Legos. The instructor and the student represent the large intestine and symbiotic bacterium, sometimes called gut flora. The instructor will be trying to verbally tell the student (with eyes closed) where the fiber and water blocks are. If the student is successful in picking up a fiber block, the instructor can take one of the undigested blocks (protein, fat, etc.) and absorb it because it got help from the gut flora. If the student is successful in picking up a water block, the student can take open their eyes for one second to get a peek of their surrounds, then must close their eyes again, and the water block is given to the instructor.

·      After several rounds of playing this game, the student(s) will begin to see what parts of the food were absorbed, and what parts made it through the process undigested. Pieces (other than fiber) that remain by the end of digestion were not absorbed, which would not be good for the body. The instructor can talk about why certain pieces were not absorbed. If there were not enough chewing, the stomach would have had a difficult time breaking up the food. If the stomach does not break the food into individual pieces, the small intestines cannot absorb. If the small intestine is not absorbing the macro and micro nutrients, then that will irritate the large intestine and make it hard to remove water from the food. Too much water in the stool is diarrhea. If the only remaining pieces by the end of round are the fiber Legos, that is a healthy bowel movement that shows complete absorption of the food (which is not easy to do).

·      At the end of the game, the teacher can take time to talk about the importance of macro and micronutrients. Fats and proteins will help build everything in the body (bone, muscle, brain, skin, etc.)  The carbohydrates will be separated so they can be used for energy.  The teacher can explain that fats can be used for energy as well. Vitamins and minerals contribute to lots of different bodily processes that keep the body running smoothly.



Direct:    For the student(s) to understand the functions of the digestive system


Listening to directions

Teamwork and team building



Physical skills practiced: 

·      Small motor movement skills working with blocks

·      Hula-hoop

·      Jump rope

·      Holding a plank position for time


Control Of Error: 

·      The teacher

·      There should be a whiteboard or paper that has a key showing what each colored Lego represents within the game.

·      The remaining Legos at the end of digestion


Points of Interest:

·      The students will enjoy learning about the digestive system playing with an extremely popular toy.  They will also kinesthetically understand how food is literally broken down into smaller components and made into other things necessary for the body. The students will also enjoy talking about feces too.


Age: 6-9 or 9-12 (Depending on in depth you want to go with the biology of digestion)

The original individual lesson can be found here.


Human Body: Muscular System


            The muscular system is traditionally taught with students looking at a diagram of the human body labeled with the names of muscles, and students are asked to memorize them.  Proof that this is not the best method is to ask a few adults to name some muscles of the body, and many of them will not really be able to name specific muscles after one or two. However, ask a bodybuilder to name some muscles, and they could probably name at least half of them correctly.  Not only do they need to know what muscles they are exercising, but also what exercises to choose to work the appropriate muscle.  Through lots of hard work and practice, bodybuilders develop something called the “mind-muscle connection,” which is the ability to really “feel” the muscles that are at work. 

Anytime we practice a specific skill, whether it is athletic, musical, etc., we are learning how to use our muscles in a coordinated way. Firing the muscles in the correct sequence over and over again perfects the movement pattern by synchronizing the correct firing of the motor neurons. While this is not the same as the mind-muscle connection, this practice of using our muscles in specific ways is a phenomenon that almost everyone can relate.

This lesson introduces the students to the names of the muscles by having them feel the muscles they are using and associate the name of the muscle to that feeling. Afterwards, we can use a game of tug-or-war to look at muscles working on the microscopic level.



·      A diagram of the muscles in the body as a control (optional)

·      A very strong tug-of-war rope, or at least a very strong climbing rope


 Prior Knowledge:

            No prior knowledge is needed, however the students should have had some type of introduction to the human body.



·      Today we are going to learn about the muscles in our body.  Our muscles pull on our bones, which creates any movement that we can do with our bodies.  Our muscles are made up of fiber strands, almost like how our clothing is made of different fibers like cotton.  However, we have different types of fibers that work together by sliding and pulling past each other.  When the muscle fibers slide over each other, this is called flexing your muscles, or muscle flexion.  The origin of the word muscle comes from French, which means mouse, because it looks like little mice are moving under the skin when people flex their muscles. We are going to learn the names of some of the major muscle in our body and warm them up.

·      We are going to start at the top of our body and move our way down.  The first major muscle we are going to use is our trapezius muscle.  We use this muscle any time we need to lift anything from the ground.  To feel this muscle, shrug your shoulders as high as possible.  Try and touch your shoulders to your ears.  Have the students hold this for around ten seconds, and the students can count this out loud if they wish.  The goal is that they “feel” a burning sensation, which is lactic acid building up from the working muscle group.  This burning sensation will help the students identify where the work is happening and where they can identify their own muscles.

·      Next, have the students hold out their arms like an airplane.  This next active muscle group is called the deltoids, which are the muscles that surround the shoulder.  Have the students hold this position for at least a minute so the students feel the burning sensation.  The students can also hold their arms out like a zombie or mummy, and this will help them feel the anterior (front) deltoid.

·      Next, have the students make a fist and then try and touch their fist to their shoulder.  They are flexing their bicep muscle.  This is one of the most commonly known muscles because it is often used as the example of strength when someone flexes.  Again, have the students hold the flexion for at least ten seconds.

·      Next, have the students make their arm as straight as possible.  They will be flexing their triceps muscle, which is located on the back of their arm. If appropriate, point out the difference between the names bicep and triceps. Ask the students where they have heard the prefix bi and the prefix tri (bicycle vs. tricycle) and see if they can identify that these prefixes have to do with the numbers two and three. From here, explain that the biceps have two muscle heads (even though it feels like one) and the triceps has three heads (inside, outside, and upper). The triceps can have a horseshoe feeling to it.

·      Now have the students alternate between making the hardest, strongest fist they can make and spreading their fingers as wide as possible.  The students are flexing their forearm muscles, which are described as flexors and extensors. Flexors bring the fingers together; extensors extend the fingers out.

·      Next, have the students put their hands together like they are clapping, except they will push their hands against each other as hard they can.  They will feel their pectoral muscles flexing.

·      Next, have the students put their arms out like an airplane again, but this time let them bend their arms forward so it makes a 90-degree angle.  Now the students should try and touch their elbows together (which should be impossible) by retracting their shoulders back. It should look like the students are ripping apart an imaginary shirt (like Superman or Hulk Hogan). There is a large collection of muscles in the area, which in general are muscles surrounding the shoulder blade.  If you want to be more precise, you can use names such as the teres major and minor, as well as the infraspinatus and the supraspinatus.

·      Next, have the students put their arms out like an airplane.  Then have the students rotate their hands so their palms are facing upward.  Now have the students bend their arms so they are making a 90-degree angle.  You want the kids to look like the position a referee makes in American football when a field goal is good.  From here have the students pull down so their elbows to the sides of their body.  It should look like the students did an imaginary pull up.  The muscles the students should feel now are called the latissimus dorsi, or the “lats” for short.

·      Next the students should lie on the ground.  They should lift their legs slightly off the ground, but not too high that they are straight in the air.  While the students are suspending their legs in the air, the student should curl up their body, or perform or “crunch.”  However, the student should hold that position until they feel their stomach starting to burn.  The primary muscles around the stomach are called the abdominal muscles, or “abs” for short.  If you want to be more specific with the students, the muscles that run straight up and down are the rectus abdomen, the muscles behind them running diagonally are the transverse abdomen, and the muscles running vertically on the side are the oblique muscles. To feel the transverse abs, have the students twist at the torso, and to feel the obliques, they should tip over at the abdomen and then stand back up straight (similar to the motion of the song I’m a Little Teacup).

·      Have the students roll onto their stomachs.  Have the students put their arms out over their head like they are flying.  Now, the students need to elevate their chest and head off the ground as well as their legs.  Their stomach should be the only part of their body on the ground.  They are flexing their lumbar, or lower back muscles. This exercise is often referred to as the “Superman” pose.

·      Now have the students stand up.  Next the students are going to squeeze their butt cheeks as hard as they can.  To the delight of the students, you can describe how one must squeeze their butt cheeks together when one is holding in a poop.  The muscles that they are flexing are called the gluteus maximus, or the butt cheek muscles.  Sometimes these muscles are called the “glutes” for short.

·      Next, the students will make their legs as straight and as stiff as possible.  It should be like their legs turned into tree trunks or wooden planks, and they need to actively think about keeping their leg as straight as possible.  After several moments, have the students poke the front of their leg to feel the muscles contracting.  The muscles in the front of their leg are called the quadriceps.  For the students who are good with math prefixes, they might identify that quad means four.  There are indeed four muscles that make up the quadriceps muscles in the front of the leg.  Sometimes they are called the “quads” for short. Three of the four muscles can be easily felt, but the fourth lies underneath and is not as easily felt.

·      Now have the students bend their legs so that they are trying to touch their heel to their butts.  They may need to put a hand on a partner or a table or chair for balance.  The muscles they are flexing are called the hamstrings, but can also be called the leg biceps as well. The leg biceps is a misnomer however, because there are more than two muscles that make this muscle group.  An observant student may make the connection that their arm and leg muscles are in similar positions, but that one set is turned in the opposite way.  Four legged animals joints face the same way, but animals that can walk on two legs often have arm and leg joints opposite of each other.

·      Finally have the students stand on their tiptoes for as long as possible.  The muscles they are flexing when they stand on their toes, or when they jump, is the gastrocnemius, or the calf muscles. 

·      They have now warmed up their major muscles in their body, we can move onto the second part of our activity. An interesting fact that you can tell the children is that when they flex one muscle, they are stretching the muscle on the opposite side.  That means that not only were they waking up their muscles by flexing them, but they were also getting in a good stretch as well.

·      Part 2 – Tug-of-War

·      Now the student(s) are going to play a tug-of-war game, but they are also zooming inside one of their muscles at the microscopic level.

·      Muscles are made up of two fiber types, actin and myosin. Actin is the fiber that is pulled on. Myosin fibers have golf club looking arms that grab on the actin and pull on it to cause flexion. The tug-of-war rope is the actin fiber, and the students are the myosin fibers.

·      Make two even teams between the students and place them on either side of the rope. If you only have one student, the instructor may have to be on one side and the student on the other. The instructor announces the start the game and stays with the rope for safety if one team were to let go accidently. In this version of the game, the students are not allowed to move their feet however; they can only pull from their upper body. The goal is to pull the rope end over end to simulate the myosin heads grabbing the actin.




Direct:    For the children to learn the different names of the muscles in the body

Indirect:   Listening to directions

                Body awareness



Physical skills practiced: 

            The students will be flexing different muscles to build awareness of the different muscles in their body. They also will be using those muscles in a tough tug-of-war game afterwards.


Control Of Error: 

The teacher and a chart (if being used)


Points of Interest:

If the students flex hard enough, they will feel a burning sensation in their muscles.  This burning sensation is something not easily forgotten and will give them kinesthetic awareness of their body.  That burning sensation is lactic acid, which is a metabolic waste product, produced by muscles as they work.  The burning sensation stops when it is cleared out by the body. However, as the muscles work, they produce waste, and typically the body cannot clear out the waste as fast as it is being produced when the muscles are working hard.

 Age: All ages

 The original individual lesson can be found here.


Angle Wall Ball


            Many students are familiar with the game Wall Ball.  The game involves players throwing a ball off the ball and trying to catch it in the air or off the bounce.  If they are successful in catching the ball, it is their turn to throw the ball and the process continues. It is a fan favorite for students especially during indoor recess when they have large walls to throw tennis balls of off for impressive ricochets.

            This version of the game (Angle Wall Ball) will reinforce the geometric concepts of acute and obtuse angles that the students have learned in class.  Depending on how a player throws the ball (underhand versus overhand), it will ricochet off the wall and the ball path creates an angle.  The students are going to try their best to create either obtuse or acute angles from their throw in this fun and high-energy wall ball style game.



·      A large wall (inside or outside) that a tennis balls (or other bouncy balls) can be thrown off of

·       A bouncy ball or tennis ball

·      A whiteboard, chalkboard, a large paper

·      Jump rope, chalk, or something to make a boundary throwing line (optional)


Prior Knowledge: The students should have done some work with angles, especially acute and obtuse angles.



·      Before we begin the game, review the different types of angles that your student(s) know.  Have them draw some of the angles and label them if possible. If they can identify acute and obtuse angles, they are ready to play.

·      As an example, the instructor should throw a tennis ball with an overhand (pitching type) motion against the wall.  Ask the student(s), “If you could trace the path of the tennis ball when it left my hand and bounced off the wall, what angle did it make?”  Throw the ball in the same manner against the wall again so they can concentrate on the flight path of the ball.  If none of the students can tell what angle the path of the ball made once it bounced off the wall, we need to slow it down for them.  The instructor should take the ball and walk it through the path that it took to hit the wall, and then the angle that it ricocheted.  The instructor should go to the whiteboard and draw the line of flight of the ball to the wall, and then the line made after the ricochet, which should look like an acute angle if it was thrown hard enough.

·       This process should be repeated with an obtuse throw with one important distinction: the ball should be thrown closer to the wall and underhand. This manner of throwing the ball will cause the ball to ricochet higher in the air. If the students cannot tell that this type of throw creates an obtuse angle, slow it down for the student(s) like last time. Draw the flight path of the ball to prove that it makes an obtuse angle.

·      Once the students identify the different angles, it is time to explain the rules of the game. There should be two types of players: an acute player and an obtuse player. The acute player must throw hard with an overhand motion so the ball makes an acute angle from the ricochet, and the obtuse player is trying to make an obtuse angle by throwing closer to the wall underhanded.

·      Depending on where you are playing the game, make a boundary line with chalk (if outside), jump rope, or some type of landmark. This boundary line separates the playing area of the acute player and the obtuse player.

o   The acute player stands in the playing area farther away from the wall. They must throw the ball hard so that it hits the wall and bounces off. Keep that in mind when creating the boundary line so that the acute player can consistently hit the wall and it is not too far away for them.

o   The obtuse player stands in the playing area closer to the wall. They must throw the ball underhand so that it hits the wall and bounces high off the wall. The obtuse players may need a couple warm-up throws to get the hang of this type of throw.

·      The acute player starts with the tennis ball and should be in a spot (probably close to the boundary line) where they are guaranteed to hit the wall from where they throw it.  The obtuse player should be ready to stop the ball from bouncing past the “serving line” or “dividing line”. The best way to do this is by catching the ball of the ricochet. If they catch the ball, they are allowed to go anywhere they want in their playing area and throw the ball. If the ball is not caught, but batted down or blocked by the obtuse player before it crosses the dividing line, they have to throw the ball from where they stopped the ball, which will be much harder to do (because they won’t be so close to the wall to make the obtuse angle).

·      If the obtuse player cannot prevent the ball from crossing the dividing line on any given through, then that is a point for the acute player.

·      The obtuse player does catch the ball; they should find a good spot to throw the ball underhand so that it ricochets off the wall and high into the air. The acute player must stay behind the dividing line until the ball is thrown. Once the ball is thrown, the acute player tries to catch the ball before it hits the ground. If you are playing with younger children, allow them one bounce on the ground. The acute player is allowed to cross the diving line to catch the ball if necessary. If the acute player catches the ball, they can go back to their side and throw the ball overhand again and the play resumes.

·      If the acute player cannot catch the ball, then it is a point for the obtuse player.

·      If a player throws the ball and it is clear that the flight path of the ball did not make the angle for that type of player, it is either a point for the other player or a redo (depending on the age and ability of the student(s) playing).

·      Make sure to alternate who serves the ball at the beginning of each point.

·      Play to a certain score, and then make sure to switch the player’s roles.

·      After the game is over, discuss what happened during the game. Was one type of throw easier to make than the other? Was easier to catch the ball of  an acute player or an obtuse player?



Direct:    To reinforce the acute and obtuse angles.


Listening and following directions




Physical skills practiced: 

·      Throwing a tennis ball (overhand and underhand)

·      Catching a tennis ball (in the air and off the bounce)

·      Running


Control Of Error: 

The students and the instructor should be watching the throw to see if the angle created is obtuse or acute. 


Points of Interest: Having to focus extra hard on the flight path of the ball will help some of the students with their hand-eye coordination.  Focusing on angle trajectory will help the students when they other games like basketball or pool.


Age: Any age

The original lesson can be found here.




One of the most iconic natural phenomena that happens on Earth is a volcanic eruption. Humans have always been in awe of volcanoes, and for good reason. Their destructive capabilities are fearsome, whether from the lava flow, or the ash cloud that can reach for miles. Throughout time, there are many stories and myths from all around the world that center on the destructive capability of volcanoes. Yet for all their destructive power, we love them and live on them! Volcanoes bring nutrient rich matter to the surface, which changes soil composition. After the destruction, there is tremendous regrowth in an area hit by lava flow. Humans live on volcanoes, especially in archipelagos around Asia and Oceania because of the lush flora and fauna. Many humans have prized the igneous stone obsidian, which is made from volcanic activity.

Students absolutely love volcanoes. Whether they are learning about lava and eruptions, or making model volcanoes themselves, volcanoes are a favorite of many students. With this fun and exciting lesson, students will be able to live out their fantasy of creating an eruption while simultaneously reinforcing concepts and terminology of volcanoes.



·      A decent sized playing area (unobstructed living room is good, a spacious backyard is even better)

·      A trampoline, bungee chair, or ricochet net (the ones used for Spikeball work very well)

·      As many dodgeballs or tennis balls (whatever bounces the highest)

·      A container for the dodgeballs or bouncy balls (a laundry basket or bucket works well)

·      A red shirt and a blue shirt

·      A minimum of two players

o   Can be two students

o   Can be a student and adult



Prior Knowledge: The students should have had lessons on volcanoes



1.     If you have two students, one should wear the red shirt and the other should wear the blue shirt. If there is only one student, then an adult will need to play as well.

2.     Place the bouncy surface apparatus (trampoline) in the center of the playing area. The apparatus should be bouncy enough for the students to throw the balls so they fly back extra far and high from the ricochet.

3.     Spread the balls all around the playing area, and there should be a container visible to all the players. The game begins with the red player (which represents the heat / eruption team) picking up a ball and bouncing it off the apparatuses as hard as they can so it ricochets and flies high in the air.

4.     While the ball is in the air, the blue player (which represents the cooling team) tries to catch the ball while it’s in the air. If they catch the ball, they cooled it down and they should put the ball in the container. If they do not catch the ball in the air, then they must leave it to the red team. The blue team cannot touch the tennis ball unless it is in the air. For younger or less skilled students, allowing them to catch the ball after one bounce is a good adaptation. For students who are good catchers, having them catch with only one hand is another adaptation that can be made to the game.

5.     When a red player throws a ball at the bouncy apparatus or ricochet net, the ball should fly in the air. The red player is not allowed to catch the ball or interfere while the ball is in the air, only the blue team can. After the ball bounces or begins to roll on the ground, the red team can pick it up and throw it at the bouncy apparatus again.

6.     The goal of the blue team is to stop the eruption by cooling off the sports balls (lava); the goal of the red team is to make the eruption last as long as possible with good hard throws that bounce as high as possible. Once the eruption is over, the students should switch colors (and roles) and play the game again.

7.     After the lesson, ask the students to describe how the game was like a volcanic eruption. Try to include terms like ash cloud, lava flow, crater, etc. Also mention to the students that the red jersey players were like heat, which built up pressure that caused the eruption. The blue players had a cooling effect, which solidified the lava and reduced the pressure within the volcano.



Direct:    For the children to reinforce terminology of volcanoes

Indirect:   Listening to directions

                Teamwork and team building





Physical skills practiced: 

·      Throwing the ball at a target

·      Catching a ball in the air (or off of a bounce)


Control Of Error: 

Whether the ball is caught or not


Points of Interest: The students will often work very hard to give good throws to make the ball bounce as high as possible.  This will also help the catching students because it gives them more time to track the ball for a successful catch. The kid’s imagination will be running wild as they imagine lava flying everywhere!


Age: All ages (but designed for lower elementary)

The original lesson can be found here.

Version 2.0


            This version has been modified so it can be played at home. There has also been an extra emphasis placed on convection currents in this version as well.



·      A large playing area (if possible, however indoors like a living room work)

·      A small container that the player can throw a ball into

·      At least one ball that easily fits into the container, the less bouncy the better

·      Cones or socks that can act as a place marker                    


Prior Knowledge: The students should have had the First Great Lesson, and lessons on volcanoes would be very helpful as well. The game can be used as an introduction to volcanoes however. This year I used this lesson as a bridge between the First and Second Great Lesson as volcanoes play a big part in the Archaic Period, and the volcanic lava would provide building blocks for future life.



·      Whether inside or outside, the arrangement should look similar.

o   There should be a target at one end of the playing area. From each target (the container), there will be place markers that emanate in a line.

·      The first place marker should start about 3 feet away from the target, and each place marker afterwards would be every one to two feet. For those of you who are old enough to remember, this idea resembles Bozo Buckets.

·      The first shooter tries to throw the ball into the target. If they are successful, they move one disc dot away and shoot again. The process repeats until they miss and the ball hits the ground, or they successfully make a shot from every single disc dot.

·      If there is another person playing, they should stand behind the bucket. They will be helping the thrower by catching any missed shots. If a missed shot is caught, then the thrower does not have to go back to the beginning and start over, but can stay at the spot that was missed. This is huge when the student has made lots of far shots and is almost done completing the volcano.

·      If the missed shot is not caught by a teammate, then the shooter rotates with the catcher, and the former catcher becomes the new shooter.

§  For upper elementary, the student(s) should restart from the beginning, or the first disc dot, after every rotation or miss.

§  For lower elementary, the student(s) do not go back to the start, but stay at the disc dot that was previously achieved. If/when the students do make a shot from the last disc dot, then they should start from the very beginning again because they have successfully made a volcano.

·      The goal of the game is for a shooter to get to the farthest disc dot and make the shot. This represents the creation of a volcano. There can be a time limit implemented so the student(s) can see how many volcanoes they can make in the time limit.

·      Once the game is over, it is time for the debriefing. We are going to introduce the concept of convection currents to the students. There is magma constantly going through the convection cycle underneath the crust of the Earth. When something gets hotter, it rises, and as it cools it sinks. This phenomenon can be easily seen with hot air balloons. There are times when the heat and pressure builds up so immensely that the Earth’s crust cannot contain it anymore, and the magma from mantle makes it to the surface and breaks through and becomes lava. This build up of heat and pressure underneath the Earth’s crust is represented by the “pressure” the shooter feels as they move farther and farther away from the target. Making a shot from the last dot is when magma spews forth and becomes lava, which is the creation of a volcano!



Direct:    For the children to reinforce terminology of volcanoes

Indirect:   Listening to directions

                Teamwork and team building







Physical skills practiced: 

·      Throwing the ball at a target with an air scoop

·      Catching a ball in the air (or off of a bounce) with an air scoop


Control Of Error: 

Whether the ball goes in the target, and if the shot is missed, whether it is caught or not


Points of Interest: The game does an excellent job of reinforcing the importance of teamwork. Even though the catcher may seem like an easier job, it becomes very important when a team gets close to the end and the shooter misses the shot. Besides the importance of teamwork, it may also help the students understand the value of work, even when what they are doing is not necessarily in the spotlight.


Age: 6-9 and 9-12


Layers of the Earth


When I was a student, one of the most iconic materials was a globe that was cut to show the inner layers of the Earth. The idea that the core of the Earth was made of metal, and it was as hot as the Sun, was fascinating to me. From our understanding of states of matter, the core should be liquid from extreme heat, but because of the intense pressure, it remains a solid. Another mind-blowing fact was to see how small the crust was in relation to the mantle.

As cool as the layers of the Earth models are, they do not give a sense of the movement that is happening inside the Earth. The students eventually learn about tectonic plates, but the cause of the movement is relatively unknown. We are told that the mantle is made of molten magma, but why is it moving so much?

In this game, which will reinforce concepts like crust, mantle, outer and inner core, and volcanoes, the students will come to understand why there is so much movement in the mantle through play. The students will be introduced to terms like convection currents, which follows the First Great Lesson, and helps solidify the concept that when something is heated, it rises, and when something is cooled, it settles.



Materials:  Version #1 (in the classroom or at home)

·      A play area with a rug of decent size. It is best to move any tables and chairs out of the way. If you do not have a big area rug, use something to show the boundaries of your play area (jump rope, etc.)

·      Cones are preferable, but other household items like pillows can be used (as many as you can get)


Prior Knowledge: The students should have had the First Great Lesson, as well as a lesson on the layers of the Earth.



At Home Variation

1.     The edge of the rug will represent the crust.

a.     If you have two or more students and a parent:

                                              i.     The instructor/parent will stand in the middle of the rug, and they will represent the inner and outer core. Choose one student to tag the other students (they will represent heat), and the other students will dodge and evade the tagger inside of the mantle.

b.    If you have one student and a parent:

                                              i.     Make a circle with a jump rope or hula-hoop to represent the inner and outer core. The parent/instructor will be the heat player, and the student will dodge and evade the tagger inside of the mantle.

2.     When the instructor says go, the tagger tries to tag the students who are in the mantle. If the student wants turns being the heat tagger player, switch every five minutes or so.

3.     When either the tagger or the instructor tags a student running in the mantle, the tagged student leaves the playing area. Wherever they step out, they should put a cone or pillow where they left. Everyone gets a 10 second break (or longer if people are really tired). After ten seconds, the evading player comes back into the mantle and the process repeats. To be fair, the tagging player should start far away from the reentering student so they are not tagged immediately.

4.     The instructor is representing the cores, they cannot move and should not reach out too far to tag students; they should focus only on students who get too close to the core. The tagging student is free to move anywhere in the mantle to chase the other students. If the instructor is the tagger and there is a hoop or something else representing the core, the evading player must go around the hoop. If they step on it, it counts as a tag, and they should leave the crust like they were just tagged.

5.     After rotating the tagger several times, and the game is coming to and end, the instructor should ask the students, “What did the evading students in the mantle represent (magma)? What do the cones or pillows represent (they were becoming mountains and volcanoes)? What did the tagging student represent (heat)? Why could the teacher in the core tag students as well and/or why did the hoop make players leave the mantle (the core is very hot)?” These questions hopefully will stimulate good conversation. If appropriate for your class, this is the time that the idea of convection currents can be introduced to the students as well. When heat touched the students in the mantle, or the hot core touched them, they rose to the crust. After the rest, the “cooler” student settled into the mantle, where it would eventually be heated again. This cycle of heating and cooling is called convection currents. The pressure and heat builds up enough that it has to escape out of the crust and burst out (like a volcano).



Direct:    To reinforce terminology and understanding of the layers of the Earth

Indirect:   Listening to directions





Physical skills practiced: 

·      Running and evading a pursuer

·      Running in pursuit of someone


Control Of Error: 

The instructor will not be able to see every tag, so sportsmanship should be emphasized for fun and fair play. If there is a dispute that cannot be resolved, something like “rock, paper, and scissors” can be used to decide the outcome of someone challenging a tag. The cones and/or pillows will show how many tags there have been.


Points of Interest: Younger students are still working on pacing, and frequently run themselves into exhaustion. When they get tagged, they get to imagine themselves as an erupting volcano leaving the crust.


Age: 6-9 and 9-12

The original lesson can be found here.


Human Body Experiments

How Powerful Are You?


 When we talk about an individual being powerful, we are usually referring to a personality trait. A powerful person usually means someone who is a strong leader that commands respect. However, in this lesson, we are not looking at someone’s power as a descriptor of their personality, but at the scientific definition of power.

When we measure power in the human body, typically look at the concept of work, which is defined as force times distance (force is mass times acceleration). However, for the vertical jump test that the student will perform, we will need to use equations to help estimate power using different bits of information. If you have a force plate at home to jump of off, then you can be very precise (if you can’t tell, this is a joke; no one has a force plate at home). While there are several different equations that we can use, I prefer the Sayers formula because it is the easiest for the students to use for their calculations (less chance of making errors. However, feel free to also use the Lewsi formula, or the improved version called the Harman formula. The Johnson and Bahamonde formula is also not a bad option.

In this lesson, the students are going to measure their body’s ability to produce peak anaerobic power. The students may have a hypothesis on who they believe is very powerful, but they may be caught by surprise as the students measure their abilities. This lesson reinforces the scientific method, as well as scientific terminology in relation to studying the basics of physics.



·      A tape measure

·      A calculator (optional)



Prior Knowledge: The students should have had lots of exposure to basic concepts of physics, especially the term “power.”



1.     Choose a target for the students to try and touch as they jump. The easiest way to measure jumping height will be to measure the spot that a student touches on a wall. However, the wall prevents them from jumping full force because the student does not want to jump into the wall. If you have something to suspend a tape measure or rope, like a basketball hoop, this will allow the student to jump as high as possible without fear of hitting themselves on a wall since they will have space to land.

2.     Have the instructions written down on a large pad of paper for all the students to read.

a.     The student needs to find their maximum standing reach. Standing straight and reaching as high as possible without leaning, the student will touch either a point on the wall or the tape measure. When recording the measurement, check to see if the measuring tape has centimeters. If the tape measure only does feet and inches, the inches must be converted to centimeters. To convert, multiply the number of inches by 2.54 to get centimeters.

b.    Next, jump as high as possible only taking one step to do so. As the subject jumps, they should outstretch with one arm. Record the height of the touch “as is” if the tape measure has centimeters. If not, multiply the inches by 2.54 to get centimeters.

c.     Next, subtract the max reach in centimeters from the jump height in centimeters to get the vertical jump. You have made a mistake if your answer is a negative number.

d.    For the equation, the subject must convert their bodyweight into kilograms. Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms.

e.     Now it is time to calculate peak anaerobic power output by using the following equation: Watts = (60.7 x vertical jump (cm)) + (45.3 x body mass (kg)) - 2055

f.      Repeat steps A though E five times and find the average of the power output.

3.     Once the students have read the instructions, it is time to discuss the scientific method and how this experiment pertains to it. Some of these questions will not be able to be answered until the students actually perform the experiment.

a.     Hypothesis: How much power will the subject generate? Who might be the most powerful student in the class? Why?

b.    Materials: Check to see if the ruler has centimeters or just inches. Are the subjects using calculators?

c.     Procedure: What is the independent variable (The students)? What is the dependent variable (the height of the jump)? How is the average of the jumps working as the control?

d.    Results: What is the average of the power outputs? Were they similar to each other, or was there an outlier?

e.     Conclusion: Was the hypothesis similar to the results? Why or why not?

4.     After the discussion, it is time for them to perform the experiment. If this is being done with a lot of students, pairing them up or making small groups that rotate will make the time more efficient.

5.     Once the students have calculated their power in watts, ask them how many 60-watt light bulbs they could power momentarily with their jump if they were connected to electrodes.

6.     Once everyone is done, ask he students if their hypothesis matches the results. If not, why? A common misconception is that smaller students are not capable of being powerful. Even more underestimated are the heaviest students, because even a little jump requires a lot of power to move their mass.



Direct:    For the students to perform an experiment using the scientific method.

Indirect:   Reading directions


                Math skills


 Physical skills practiced: 

·      Standing high jump


Control Of Error: 

If the calculations are significantly different than other students, this is a sign that they should check their findings with a calculator, or have another student check their work.


Points of Interest: Students don’t commonly think that they generate power that can be measured; so seeing their power measured in Watts is interesting to see.



Lower Elementary (with lots of calculation help)

Upper elementary (maybe with a little bit of calculation help)

Middle School

The original lesson can be found here.


Human Body Experiments: Heart Rate


            These Human Body experiment lessons should be used in conjunction with lessons about the scientific method (especially if your school does a science fair). Each experiment in the series will identify the following topics:

·      Question

·      Hypothesis

·      Materials

·      Procedure

·      Control, independent, and dependent variable

·      Results

·      Conclusion

When an experiment is explained to the students, these pieces should be referenced at all times. This will help the students understand these concepts in an applied setting. Hopefully this will help the students in their own idea generation, or at the very least, help them correctly identify their controls and variables within an already established experiment.

Another option for the human body experiment series is to teach these lessons as the students are learning about the human body, specifically as a follow-up to the Great River Lesson. This theme of this experiment is measuring heart rate and how it changes in response to different modes of exercise. The students will learn how to find and measure their own heart rate, and analyze how it changes in response to different modes of exercise.



·      Large open space for running (backyard, around the block, treadmill, etc.)

o   Some orange cones

o   Hula hoops (optional)

o   Jump rope (optional)

o   Yoga mats for the ground (optional)


Prior Knowledge: The students should have had some biology lessons in general, and depending on where this lesson is taught in the curriculum, either a lesson on the Scientific Method or the Great River Lesson.



·      Start with reminding the student(s) of the scientific method. The parts of the scientific method are question, hypothesis, experiment (include materials, procedure, controls, independent and dependent variables in this section), results, and conclusion. There is also a research phase that comes after the question phase, but as the teacher you will be providing the background research for them.

·      Ask your students this question, “Which mode of exercise increases heart rate the most?” Show the students the different exercises, which can be as few or as many you want depending on the size of the class or interests of the students. I would advise having at minimum three different activities; however, the more types of activities, the more interesting the results. Some cardiovascular activities include sprinting (students run to a distance, then walk back to the start line, then run again and repeat), continuous jogging, and continuous jumping jacks. However, additional materials can be used for more exercises like: jump rope, hula-hoop, shooting basketballs and fetching the rebound, hitting a tennis ball with a tennis racket off the wall, etc. Then we have anaerobic exercises like push-ups, squats, pull-ups, crunches, etc. For jump roping and hula-hoops, if they miss the jump or drop the hoop, they need to restart as soon as possible. For push-ups and crunches, they need to do as many as they can. Once they cannot, take a 10-30 second break, then do as many as they can. The students repeat this until the time interval is over. A good interval time for the students to do their exercise is between two to four minutes.

·      Now that the students know the question and the various modes of exercise, they need to make a hypothesis. If your student(s) just says the name of an exercise without further explanation, ask them to add a “because statement” after their hypothesis. For example, “I think jogging will raise heart rate the most because there are no breaks.”

·      After the student(s) have made their own hypotheses, explain the procedure of the experiment to the students.

o   The students must first find their resting heart rate. The student(s) should not use their thumbs to feel for their pulse because the thumb has a faint pulse of it’s own, which may disturb the students ability to accurately count heart rate. The two main places to find the pulse for counting heartbeats are in the neck and the wrist.

§  To find the pulse in the neck, have the students trace their fingers (starting under their ear and behind the jaw) down their neck slowly with their index and middle finger. Eventually they should feel the pulse about half way down the neck.

§  To find the pulse in the wrist, with their index and middle finger, the students should trace down their thumb and palm until they get to their wrist. It will not be found in the middle of the wrist, but more off to the side of the thumb.

o   To find resting heart rate the students should lie down on the ground for one minute and calm themselves. After one minute, the instructor will tell the students to begin counting their heartbeat. The instructor will keep track of the time. Once one minute is over, the instructor will tell the students to record their resting heart beat.

o   Now that the students have their resting heartbeat, they should pick one of the exercises for the day.

§  The sprint station should have two cones that designate the distance that the students are going to sprint. When the instructor says, “go,” the students run from one cone to the other as fast as they can go. Once they get to the other cone, they walk back to the initial cone from where they started. Once they get back to the starting cone, they run as fast as they can back to the other cone. They repeat this process until the time interval is over.

§  The jogging station should jog around the designated area (backyard, neighborhood, etc.). They should be jogging at a pace that they can sustain for the full interval time. If the students can talk to each other while jogging, that is probably a reasonable pace for the students to adhere.

§  The jumping jack station should perform jumping jacks at a pace that they can continue uninterrupted for the entire time interval. Again, if the students can speak to each other, that is a reasonable pace.

§  If the students are jumping rope or hula hooping, they should go for as long as possible. If they hit the rope or drop the hula-hoop, they should pick it up and begin again as quickly as possible. It is not as important for the students to go fast as it is for the students to be able to continue a pace for the full time interval.

§  If the students are doing push-ups, sit-ups, etc., the students should initially perform as many as they can until they get tired. Once they are tired, they should take a 10-30 second break, and then do as many repetitions as they can. This process is repeated until the time interval is completely over.

§  Feel free to add another exercise that the students might enjoy, or an exercise that the students would like to test to see how it affects heart rate.

·      When an interval is over, make sure that students record their data every time they perform one of the experiments. They should label their paper with the control and their resting heart rate, and then next to that each exercise with its corresponding new heart rate after exercise.

·      To make this experiment very accurate, only do one exercise per day. That ensures that the resting heart completely returns to normal before each bout of exercise. This also prolongs the length of the experiment, which builds anticipation for the student and is helpful for the teacher (especially if you are a parent teaching from home under quarantine).

·      Once the student(s) are done with all the exercises, analyze and compare the data. Which exercise increased heart rate the most? Which exercise increased heart rate the least? Were there differences in the student(s) resting heart rate from one day to the next?

·      Have the student(s) share their results. Which exercise increased heart rate the most? Why? Which mode of exercise was the most intense (you may need to explain intensity)? Did that have an effect on heart rate? If there were differences between the resting heart rate of one day to another, why?

·      If this lesson is being used to reinforce the scientific method, have a discussion on the different parts of the experiment and how they fit into the scientific method model.

o   Hypothesis: Which mode of exercise will raise heart rate the most? Why?

o   Materials: What other types of exercise would increase heart rate besides the ones you tried?

o   Procedure: What is the independent variable (the mode of exercise)? What is the dependent variable (the heart rate)? What is the control (resting heart rate)?

o   Results: Did the mode of exercise you thought would raise heart rate the most actually raise heart rate the most? Why or why not? If not, which one did?

o   Conclusion: Was the hypothesis similar to the results? Why or why not?




Direct:    For the students to perform an experiment using the scientific method.

Indirect:   Listening to directions

                Measuring heart rate

                Math skills

                Recording skills and organization




Physical skills practiced: 

·      Sprinting

·      Jogging

·      Jumping Jacks

·      Various forms of exercise used in the experiment


Control Of Error: 

The student’s should record their data, so they will not have to commit it all to memory. The instructor will act as timekeeper to assist the student during their experiment.


Points of Interest: The students will be interested to see which exercise gets their heart rate increased the most, and it may not be what they thought it was.



6-9 (with significant help)

9-12 (with a little help)

Middle School (probably can do it on their own)

The original lesson can be found here.


Human Body Experiment:

Can Exercise Improve Cognitive Function?


Most adults have heard about the benefits of exercise. There are many trusted sources where you can find this information, from government websites to human physiology textbooks. We know exercise improves the cardiovascular system, which keeps the heart healthy and strong. Exercising can help with weight management and prevent obesity and type II diabetes. Exercise can make muscles stronger, which helps retain bone mass and improves immune system function. It may help prevent some cancers, improves sleep quality, and improves coordination (very important for elderly to prevent falls). The least well-known and most misunderstood benefit of exercise may be how it improves brain function. There is evidence that exercise may improve academic performance, as well as slow or even prevent degenerative brain disorders.

Some students (and adults) view their mind and brain as independent from their body. Their body is just a thing that takes them from point A to point B. They look at their body more like a vehicle like a car; perform the minimum amount of maintenance to keep it going, and focus more on the driver (their brain). However, the brain is not independent of the body. A poor functioning body an impact the brains ability to perceive its environment and process information. A body that functions at optimum levels allows the brain to also operate at its optimum level as well.


In this human body experiment, the students are going to investigate whether exercise can boost their math-test taking abilities. In the scientific literature, it appears like exercise does help, but which form is the best (if at all)? This lesson works well when taught in conjunction with the Scientific Method and science fair. Maybe the most important function of this lesson is that it (may) reinforces the idea that exercise is good for the brain. For a student who does not like exercise or physical activity, but values their intelligence and academic excellence, though this experiment they may see that exercise helps boost their mental performance. If this encourages the student to begin exercising, then that is a great victory.




·      A space to run (around the block, the backyard)

·      Equipment for your student’s favorite sport to play (soccer, football, etc.) if they have one

·      A math fact for every mode of exercise that the student is practicing, plus one more two more for the control experiment. They should be on similar topics, but not identical. For example, if a student is working on their X2’s, have two sheets for that student, but the problems should not be in the same identical order. This can be used as a discussion piece after the experiment. If the math facts sheets were identical, the reason why students improved might be due to memorization and not because of exercise (if there is an improvement). These sheets should have at least one hundred problems; we don’t want most students to be able to finish easily.

·      Pencils with erasers


Prior Knowledge: The students should have been introduced to the Scientific Method.



1.     Explain to the student(s) that they are going to be performing an experiment today. They are going to test if exercise has an effect on their math fact speed and accuracy. Have the student(s) make a hypothesis on whether they think that exercise will improve their math fact recall or not.

2.     The instructor should give each student a math fact timings sheet and a pencil. Explain to the students that we are establishing our control with these math fact timings sheet, and they will be doing this again later in the day. Once everyone is ready, have the student’s do as many as problems as they can in certain time limit (2-5 minutes).

3.     Once the time is done, collect their papers. Let the students do an activity that is not physically demanding that they want to do (play cards, color, draw, read) for somewhere between 10-20 minutes. Have the students take a new version of the same math fact sheet and time them again. Compare the scores of the two tests (was there any improvement?), and this will be the control.

4.     The next three days will test at least three different modes of exercise: anaerobic exercise, aerobic exercise, and aerobic play.

a.     The anaerobic day can perform exercise like sprints, pushups, situps, etc. If the student is sprinting, they should run a certain distance, then walk back to their original spot. The reason this is “anaerobic” exercise is that they can perform this exercise without needing oxygen. On the cellular level, the muscles are burning creatine phosphate and glycogen, and don’t have to rely on the Krebs cycle (citric acid cycle) for prolonged energy creation. For pushups and other bodyweight exercises, have the students perform a set (lets say 10 reps), rest 30 seconds, and then perform another set until the time is up.

b.    The aerobic exercise day will be jogging (probably around the block or even on a treadmill). This student should go at a pace where they can talk. This is aerobic because the body uses oxygen to continue making ATP for the working muscles.

c.     The aerobic play day should play a game that requires some running, but is a fun game of their choice. Good examples of this would be soccer, football, basketball, tag, etc.

5.     Have the students play and exercise for somewhere between ten to twenty minutes. This will give the instructor time to grade the first math fact sheet (it is best to have an answer key to accomplish this as quickly as possible).

6.     After the allotted time, bring the students back and give them their alternate math-fact timing sheet. Give them a pencil and have them do as many problems as they can in five minutes.

7.     Once the time is done, collect the timings and correct them (with an answer key if available). Compare their two timings. Did they improve, stay the same, or do worse?

a.     If working with older students, you can have them graph the results of each test. For example, if a student got 70 correct the first test and 80 correct the second time, their score is +10. If a student answered 60 the first time and 50 the second time, their score is -10.

8.     Have the students share their results. Did the exercise days do better than the non-exercise days? Why or why not? Was there a mode of exercise that improved more than the others? Why did that happen? What are the mechanisms that exercise could help in taking a math fact test? Possible answers could be increased blood flow with oxygen to brain, helps to calm them down, relieves test taking anxiety, etc.

9.     If this lesson is being used to reinforce the scientific method, have a discussion on the different parts of the experiment and how they fit into the scientific method model.

a.     Hypothesis: Will exercise improve math fact test taking ability?

b.    Materials: Does there need to be an element of fun in the exercise to boost brainpower?

c.     Procedure: What is the independent variable (the type of exercise)? What is the dependent variable (the change in number of correct answers)? What is the control (taking the test without exercise)?

d.    Results: Did exercise improve the number of correct answers? Was one mode of exercise better than another?

e.     Conclusion: Was the hypothesis similar to the results? Why or why not? Would the results be different if it were a spelling test or a memory test?




Direct:    For the students to perform an experiment using the scientific method.

Indirect:   Listening to directions

                Math skills


Physical skills practiced: 

·      Repeated sprinting

·      Jogging

·      Whatever skills involved in their game of choice


Control Of Error: 

The instructor should use an answer key to quickly grade the math fact sheets, or do it by mental math (whichever is fastest).


Points of Interest: The students will be interested to see if they can improve their math fact test taking ability. It will also be interesting to see if one mode of practice is better than another. This will have implications in their own life on how they prepare for tests.



6-9 (with a lot of help)

9-12 (with minimal help)

The original lesson can be found here.


The Revolution of the Earth and the Seasons

At-Home Edition

Montessori Physical Education




            In this lesson, the students will play a game that demonstrates how sunrays, as well as the location of the Earth, affect what season a city or town is experiencing. The student will be the Earth, and the ball or balloon they are juggling will represent the sunrays. Depending on where they are receiving (juggling) the sunrays gives them clues as to what part of the Earth should have more sunlight, and therefore be warmer. This phenomenon is often demonstrated in class with a globe and flashlight. This demonstration can be very effective, especially because the tilt of the Earth is accurately represented either by the teacher or because the globe was made correctly. With this game, the student’s juggling of the ball (sun rays) at various points will make this demonstration more personal and possibly better understood by the younger students.



·      An area to play where there are not a lot of fragile objects

·      A ball that bounces (about the size of a small soccer ball is best) or a balloon

·      A computer or tablet with an internet connection


Prior Knowledge: While it is best for students to have had a lesson on the seasons, it is not required, as many students already know the seasons of the Earth. This lesson will work even better if the students have also had a lesson demonstrating the sunrays on the Earth and how it affects the seasons.


Presentation for Lower Elementary

·      The students will be juggling a ball or balloon by kicking and hitting, so some space is needed for the student to do this safely. Preferably, the play area should be big enough for the student to clearly walk around without running into anything, and it would be best if the area were free of fragile objects.

·      Begin by explaining to the student that they are Earth. Where their belly button is, or a where they wear their belt, is the equator line. Anything above the belt line is the northern hemisphere, and anything below the belt line is in the southern hemisphere. Ask the students to find a bouncy ball that is about the size of a small soccer ball. Any smaller will make it more difficult for the students to be able to juggle the ball. Too big and it will possibly cause damage to the surrounding area if not controlled properly. A balloon also works very well for this game.

·      Ask the students what season it is where they are. For example, at the time of me writing this lesson, it was winter in Chicago. Ask the students to identify where their city is on the globe, either the northern or southern hemisphere. Since Chicago is in the northern hemisphere, and it is in winter and very cold, it is not receiving as much sunlight, which means more sunlight is going to the southern hemisphere. You may want to mention that while it is the winter in the northern hemisphere, it is summer in the southern hemisphere.

·      Explain to the students that the ball or balloon they are using is going to represent sunrays. Since more sunlight is going to the southern hemisphere, we are going to juggle the ball or balloon only with our body parts below our belt line, which will be primarily our feet and knees. For students who are using a ball, allow them one bounce in between each juggle of the ball, but if they are using a balloon, they need to keep it in the air by kicking or kneeing the ball. Set a timer for about two minutes and ask the students to see how many juggles they can get in a row.

·      After the two minutes, have the students stop and ask them what season comes after winter (or whatever season you may have started with). After one of the students says spring, explain that spring is not the coldest season, nor is it the hottest. Where do we think most of the sunrays are going on the Earth? To some students they may think this is a trick question, but some may be clever enough to say both the northern and southern hemispheres. In this round of the game, the students alternate hitting the ball with their feet and their hands. For example, the student drops the ball and lets it bounce, then kicks the ball in the air. The ball hits the ground and bounces up once again, and the student hits the ball in the air with hand. The ball hits the ground once more and then the student kicks the ball, and so on. Play this round for two minutes.

·      With the next season being summer, the majority of the sunlight is going to the northern hemisphere, so the students are going to use their hands to hit the ball in the air. For those daring PE teachers, you could make this a mini unit of volleyball as well by introducing the bumping technique used in volleyball to keep the ball afloat. Play this round for two minutes.

·      Finally, the last season is fall, and again there may be some clever students who realize that since fall is neither the hottest nor coldest season, the sunrays will go to both the northern and southern hemisphere. This round will be played identical to the spring round with the ball alternating between kicks and hits with the hands.

·      If you have time, repeat through all the seasons again to see if the students can improve on their juggling abilities.

·      At the end of the lesson, we can quiz the students on different cities in the world and what season it would currently be there. We can also ask the students what season it would be in (insert your town or city) if the sunrays were either both in the northern or southern, or if one if the sunrays were distributed somewhat equally.


Direct:    For the students to reinforce the concepts and order of the seasons.

Indirect:   Listening to directions






Physical skills practiced: 

·      Kicking and juggling a ball or balloon

·      Hitting or bumping a ball or balloon


Control Of Error: 

The teacher will have to watch the Zoom screens to see if the students are using the appropriate appendages for each season.



Age: 6-9






Land and Water Forms

At-Home Edition

Montessori Physical Education





            One of the most iconic materials in any lower elementary Montessori classroom is the land and water forms. Whether they are made on cards, tablets, or even three-dimensional pieces (either clay or plastic where water can be poured), they are attractive and pleasing to the student. One of the things that I love the most about this material is that it elegantly shows the relationships between certain land and water forms. This inspired me to make a lesson that highlighted that beautiful idea within a fun and engaging game.

This game will not only reinforce the names of the different land and water forms, but also demonstrate their similarity. While this lesson is designed for 6-9, I have commonly heard that 9-12 students still need practice with their land and water form definitions as well. This game also gets students a lot of throwing and tossing practice in a fun, fast, team based activity done over Zoom.



·      Container(s) (laundry basket, wastebasket, etc.)

·      Some type of throwing ball (can be a sock ball)

·      A Large Blanket

·      Computer and internet access

·      Timer



Prior Knowledge: The students should have been introduced to the land and water form cards and materials. The land and water form terms they should be familiar with are:

Island / Lake

Isthmus / Strait

Cape / Bay

Archipelago / Chain of Lakes




  • Have the students collect the materials that they need to play the game.

    • A container – wastebasket, laundry basket, box, etc.

    • A ball that can fit into the container

    • A blanket

    • Optional (multiple containers to represent Archipelagos / Chain of Lakes

  • Explain to the students that they are working all together. They are going to be “throwing water,” which is represented by a ball, which will be thrown at different targets.

  • The first target is a single container mentioned above. The students are going to try and throw the ball into the container. The students should be a decent distance away from the container to increase the difficulty (10 steps away for example). Play a practice round to see what the students are capable or scoring and base the game objective score close to that number. It should be a high enough number that it is difficult for them to achieve, but it should be a plausible number. For example, depending on the number of students, they all together need to make a 100 shots in one minute.

  • If the students are successful, that means that they got enough water in the container. The single container would represent a lake because there is a body of water with land around it. If they do not achieve the score, that means that they missed the target and the “water” is surrounding the container. What we imagine is the water now surrounds the container, and the container is dry, so it is a landform, so the students made an island. Play several rounds of this version of the game.

  • We will repeat this process with the Isthmus and the Strait. The students should use a blanket to make an hourglass shape. The students will try and throw the ball into the hourglass shape. If they reach the game objective score, the water is in middle strip surrounded by two sides of land surrounded by land, which would be a strait. If the students do not meet the objective, than the majority of the water landed outside the hourglass blanket shape, so this creates a strip of land surrounded by water, which would make an isthmus. Play several rounds of this version of the game.

  • Next we will use the blanket to make a cape and a bay. The students lay the blanket out, and then make a bubble like projection by taking a side and scrunching it so a chunk of blanket is sticking out. The students will again try and throw a ball onto the blanket. If they are successful, they have made a bay. If the students are not successful, they will have made a cape. Play this version several times.

  • The last land and water form combination of an archipelago and chain of islands. This will require several containers, and may be harder to do if the bulk of students cannot get several containers to play, so this land round is optional. If the students get enough points, then they made chain of lakes, but if they don’t get the score, then they made an archipelago.




Direct:    For the children to learn the terminology for land and water forms

Indirect:   Listening to directions

                Teamwork and team building

                Hard work



Physical skills practiced: 

·      Throwing the ball at a target


Control Of Error: 

The control of error is whether the ball goes inside the container or on the blanket. The students report their progress to the teacher, who tallies up the score to see what land or water form was created.


Points of Interest: The students are encouraged to make as many shots as possible because they are all working together.


Age: 6-9 and 9-12