Name/Title: Fish 'n Ships

Purpose of Event: To strengthen communication, cooperation, strategy and leg strength.

Suggested Grade Level: 3-8

Materials Needed:
6 to 8 folding mats
12 to 16 large or double scooters
1 hula hoop per team
1 full-size swim noodle per team
80+ small balls (yarn balls and tennis trainers for example)

Description of Idea

Before doing this make sure to go over the safety aspect of this lesson.

Teams: 5 to 7 students per team, distributed evenly.

Constructing: Center the folded mat on top of two scooters arranged long-ways to make the ship. May possibly work even better with three scooters centered in a horizontal pattern.

Object: To get as many fish into your team’s net as possible.

Game Play
Ships: Arrange the teams evenly around the perimeter of the gym, just outside of the basketball court lines, with a hula hoop (fishing net) at each “dock”. Teams can strategize how they want to sit on their ship, but generally they sit with two on each side and one on each end. Dump the balls (fish) down the center of the gym. You can say “shove off” to start the game. Teams propel out into the ocean using their feet and collect fish with their feet. They can either kick the fish towards their net or carry fish between their feet off of the ground, ultimately getting the fish to rest inside of the net.

Rules: They are not allowed to use their hands to touch the fish, they cannot load fish on to their boat, and they can not lift their bottom off of the boat unless they are repairing their ship as a crew.

Angler: One team member starts as a fisherperson, or angler, with a swim noodle as their fishing pole. They can only move around on the dock (outside of the basketball court lines) to help collect fish in to their net. If a crew overshoots their net, the angler can go poke the fish into the net (ships have to stay in the ocean which is inside the basketball court boundaries). Anglers are even allowed to get fish from behind other teams fishing nets, and can reach out into the waters as long as their feet remain on the dock. Anglers can switch out with a ship crew member at any time.


Have the teams create a list of boat safety guidelines.

Assessment Ideas:

Observation of the teams as they participate--are they getting along, communicating successfully, cooperating together, moving their ship efficiently, etc.

Teaching Suggestions:

This game can also be used for 1st and 2nd grades, and probably at least lower middle school as well.

Boating terminology can be taught (bow, stern, port, starboard, etc.).

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

This activity is especially good for kids with certain disabilities, as they get team guidance, go at their own pace or ability, etc.

Submitted by Chris Thomson who teaches at Dressel Elementary in Saint Louis, MO. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 12/6/2017.
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