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Name of Activity:

Sneak Attack

Purpose of Activity:

To encourage cooperation and use of offensive and defensive strategies.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

8 each of: medium sized gator-skin balls, tennis balls, carpet squares, jump ropes, pinnies, bean bags, and cones. (Other equipment can be used, as long as you have eight of the same kind.)

Description of Idea

To set up the game, put eight cones evenly around the perimeter of the playing area. Place eight items of equipment at each cone (one of each type of equipment --no cone should have two of the same piece).

With students, first discuss what "offense" and "defense" means -- that the "offense" works together and tries to "win" by scoring points (usually with the ball), while the "defense" works together to try and keep the offense from scoring (by stopping the offense, or "stealing" the ball). Ask them if they can think of any games/sports which use offense and defensive (football, basketball, rugby, water polo, etc.). (It is fun to see if students know the one sport in which the defense, not the offense, controls the ball--it's baseball!)

Explain that the game they will play today will require their team to work together to get all of the same type of equipment, for example, 8 bean bags (show them the different types of equipment you have put out). They will need to be on the "offense" in order to get all of this equipment, but they will also need to be on the "defense" in order to keep other teams from getting all the type of equipment that team needs! They will really need to cooperate in order to do well in this game -- very briefly, discuss ways in which they can cooperate as a team (talk positively to teammates, encourage teammates, etc.).

Then explain that there will be eight different teams; each team will begin at one specific place in the gym where the cones are located. You will give them one piece of the kind of equipment they need to gather at the beginning of the game (e.g., one rope, one ball, etc.). On the "go" signal, each person will run to any other team's place and "steal" only one piece of equipment and take it back to their team. Only one person on each team can be moving at a time. Once that one person comes back to the cone, the next person may go. Each person on a team must take turns getting equipment. "Runners" can go to any team they wish and take any piece of equipment they choose; a team may not keep any other person from taking a piece of equipment. Caution students to be
careful of their personal space while moving throughout the playing area so they don't crash into anyone else.

This relay formation continues until a team has 8 of one item; that team then sits down and raises their hands to indicate they have finished. At this time, no other runner may take any equipment from that team. The teacher will then blow the whistle to signal the end of the game.

If there are no questions, (either you or students) equally divide students into teams. Send each team to a cone; then give each team the type of equipment they need to gather. Begin the game, observing to see that students are indeed only picking up one item at a time and are being careful of where they are moving.

After a few rounds to let students get the hang of the game, call them all back into a group. Ask them what strategies they used to get equipment (look ahead of your turn to see where equipment was, giving advice to the next runner, etc.). Discuss how teams are thinking "offensively" -- of getting all their equipment, but not "defensively" -- in other words, how can they keep other teams from getting all the equipment that they need? Ask for suggestions and discuss how they can do this (you may also see one team using this strategy in the beginning. At the end of that "round", pinpoint how this team used this strategy, as detailed below).

Now explain that the rules will change slightly. This time, a team can
change their strategy during the game and decide at any time to collect a different piece of equipment, instead of the one their originally started with. For example, they may decide to get all pinnies instead of the bean bags they originally started with. Also, remind them to play defense when they notice when one team is about to "win" (you may need to prompt them on how they can do this). Begin again, encouraging them to use the different strategies!

Assessment Ideas:

Observe to see that students are using both offensive and defensive strategies in order to gain all of their type of equipment (vs. just offensive strategies).

Observe the communication which is going on between teams; use this as a means to discuss cooperation and how a team needs to work together in a positive way.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

You can make it a walking game, or use any other locomotor movement.

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Submitted by Carol Ross who teaches at Harding Academy in Nashville, TN. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 10/7/2001.

Viewed 219728 times since 8/24/2001.

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Previous Comments:


I need help my math homework


No clear on how defense is played here...are teams able to guard their equipment at their home cone?

logan caporus-kahikina

Great game.


Defensive strategies

ok, I have been playing a modified version of this game for 3 years now, and it works great plus the kids love it. First, I hide the piece that each team is looking for, from the other teams, by placing a replica of it under the cone where only that particular team can see what they're collecting. Its now up to the opponents of each team to observe what is being gathered in the other teams hula hoops ( I use hulas to hold the gathered equipment in). I allow, in fact encourage kids to take pieces that their NOT COLLECTING in order to confuse their opponents (defensive strategy). Also, if a player sees another team gathering enough of any one piece, close to winning), they can yell out -SNEAK ATTACK- to alert other players to come over and take a piece(another defensive strategy).

Good Luck

Jerry Tew, Nesbit Elementary, Tucker, Ga.

The defense she is referring to is that the teams must try to keep other teams from acquiring the needed 8 items by taking from them before they go out. Sometimes it becomes beneficial to take items you don't need just to stop other teams. When I played this game I tried to focus on the defense more than the offense. That makes it more fun.

Kristie P

I think that when she says "defensive" strategies, she is talking about the fact that when "my" team sees another team on the verge of collecting 8 pieces of the same equipment we can decide to change our minds to start collecting the equipment that team has already. Ex: if they are collecting beachballs and my team is collecting jerseys, we can start to collect beachballs so that the other team has to decide quickly if they want to continue to collect beachballs or go after something new...I Think?


Yes. I am a bit confused as well about the defensive strategy. What can the teams do for defense?


Maybe I'm missing something...can someone give examples of how a team can play defense if "a team may not keep any other person from taking a piece of equipment"? Sounds like a fun game!


this could be great!!!!I'm quiet sure that everybody will enjoy playing this game.....this would really develop their defensive and offensive ability as the purpose of this activity.