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Teacher: Chris Reynolds who teaches at Sacred Heart School in Fresno, CA. Chris Reynolds can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Making a Soccer Ball

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To examine how socioeconomic trends shape everything we do including recreation and sports. The activity also allows students to learn how they can use everyday materials to make a usable, playable soccer ball.

Suggested Grade Level: 6-8

Materials Needed: Materials are supplied by the student. The materials used must be safe. Cloth, tape, string, foam, newspaper and other lightweight materials should be used to form the ball. Use of hazardous materials such as glass, metal, wood or other hard items are not allowed to be used in the creation of the ball.

Making a Soccer Ball

Sometimes, in countries and places where economies are flourishing, things can be taken for granted. Almost anyone can go to a store and purchase anything easily. Sporting goods are no exception. This assignment hopes to share with it's students how, that in some places, this type of luxury is not always readily available. Despite this, it is still possible to remain active and participate in sports and other physical activities.

Soccer is one of the worlds most popular sports partly due to one factor-poverty. At it's core, soccer is simple to play and needs little equipment - something to kick and your feet. Many of the best players in the world grew up and learned to master the game without soccer shoes, shin guards, metal goalposts and more importantly-a proper ball to play with. These players grew up producing their own soccer balls using materials readily available to them. The goal of this project is to recreate this experience by creating your own soccer ball!

You may use materials found around the house to accomplish this assignment. Of course the materials must be safe. There are some guidelines. The ball that you design must:

  • be close to regulation size and shape

  • be soft enough to kick safely and

  • be able to survive at least one game of soccer at school.

Another goal of this assignment is to test the imagination and the problem solving capabilities of the student. Students are encouraged to have fun and experiment with different materials (safe of course) or ideas. I encourage them to personalize the ball in any way but the ball must be tough enough to withstand play.

In addition to constructing a ball, the students are required to write a one page summary describing the construction process, detailing what materials were used and indicating what they thought of the process and the final designed ball. This project and paper is worth 5 points. Of course you can make it worth any point value you want.


5 POINTS. Your ball has what it takes! It survived the game, it was safe and was at or near regulation size and shape. Your ball also shows imagination in design, color, or structure. Your paper shows insight and is well written. Way to go!

4 POINTS. Your ball has survived the game and was safe but did not meet the criteria for size/shape. You have shown creativity with the construction of the ball. Your paper is clear and concise but shows little of the thought processes used to develop your ball. Keep it up!

3 POINTS. The ball is safe and shows some creativity in construction, but it did not endure the entire game and needs some repair work. Your paper is rather brief but does contain all of the necessary requirements. Good try!

2 POINTS. This ball has some problems. The ball is unsafe to use due to being too heavy or too hard. Your paper is missing some of the criteria listed on the assignment sheet. Keep trying!

1 POINT. This ball shows little planning or forethought. The ball is either unsafe or fell apart when used for a brief time. The construction is substandard and the ball shows it. You either turned in no paper or shouldn't have.

This rubric is, of course, a sample and may be amended to fit whatever grading system is in place.

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Posted on PEC: 10/9/2001 and has received 59 votes.

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