Name/Title: Pop! Bang! Boom!

Academic content: Language Arts

Purpose of Event: Teaching sound devices -- specifically onomatopoeia.

Prerequisites: The children should be familiar with the academic concept onomatopoeia and basic manipulative skills. Lesson should be prefaced with a discussion about popping balloons in the story. Many children are uncomfortable with the loud noise and adjustments need to be made for these children to participate.

Suggested Grade Level: 1-2

Materials Needed: big book of "Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type," by Doreen Cronin, balloons or beach balls

Physical activity: Manipulative Skills: Striking

Description of Idea

Read the book to the class and discuss the onomatopoeia concepts in the book.

Partner students with another student who is wearing a different color shirt.

Give each pair a balloon or beach ball. The pairs will take turns keeping the balloon/beach ball in the air by pushing it up with their fingers. (This is working on their tracking for catching.)

Each time their fingers touch the balloon they need to come up with an onomatopoeia that describes the sound a balloon makes when it pops.


To make the lesson more difficult, the students could use beach balls, instead of balloons. This is a more difficult skill because it gives the students less time to think about which onomatopoeia they want to use. To make the lesson easier, the students could roll a ball to their partner while sitting down.

Assessment Ideas:

The teacher can take pictures of the children pushing the balloon up in the air. Thereafter, the student will glue her/his picture onto a piece of white paper and draw speech bubbles, writing the onomatopoeia they used earlier.

Teaching Suggestions:

Here are some ways to extend this lesson:

1. The teacher laminates big pieces of paper with onomatopoeia words written on the paper and papers with non-onomatopoeia words and spreads the papers on the floor throughout the general space. At the teacher’s signal, the student uses a locomotor skill to move through the general space to find a paper with an onomatopoeia. After finding it, (s)he acts out a scene depicting the word. For example, if (s)he is standing on the word "meow," the student would act as a cat.

2. The teacher has a bag of animal names. The gym will have pictures of animals all over the walls. The children will draw an animal name and then say the onomatopoeia associated with that animal as they use a locomotive skill to move to the animal’s picture.

3. The teacher splits the class into pairs, with one student in the pair being the listener and the other student being the doer. The doer will shoot balls into hanging hula hoops, with the goal of shooting three balls into the hoops. The writer will write down any onomatopoeia words their partner or the equipment makes while they are completing the task.

4. The children will write a story about a day filled with many sounds (a rainy day, a day at a parade, a day at a soccer game, etc.). The story should include many onomatopoeia words. Ask for a volunteer to share her/his story with the class. Every time the child reads an onomatopoeia in the story, the class will stand up and throw a small ball into the air and then catch the ball.

5. The teacher will read the book, "Barnyard Banter," by Denise Fleming. Thereafter, the teacher will pull out chart paper with the story written on the paper in giant words. There should only be two or three words on each piece of chart paper. The laminated chart paper should be placed on the ground in order of the story. The students will be instructed to jump on each word, and as they jump they should read the story. When they come upon an onomatopoeia word, the child will hop onto the word. (using only one foot)

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

For an English language learner, the teacher should pair that student with a strong English speaker. Also, for a child with physical disabilities, (s)he can pass the balloon to her/his partner without throwing it up in the air.

Submitted by Rebecca McCombs who teaches at Clemson University in Clemson, SC. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 11/12/2011.
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