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Name of Activity:

Scooper Math

Academic content:


Purpose of Activity:

To improve throwing and catching skills, while at the same time enhance math skills.


Students must have prior practice in throwing techniques and have practice catching a ball in a scoop. (Remember to put the opposite hand over the ball [catch and cover], so the ball doesn't bounce out of the scoop.) Additionally, students must have basic math facts learned.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

several whiffle balls or tennis balls, for every two students: bucket, paper, one plastic scoop, pencil, and poly spot

Physical activity:

Throwing, Catching

Description of Idea

Set-up: Put a bucket and poly spot along the walls of the gym. Tape a piece of blank paper on the wall behind it with a pencil (or use a clip board). Scatter the balls in the middle of the gym.

How to play: One partner stands on a poly spot with the scoop in one hand. The other partner starts in the middle of the gym. On the signal from the teacher, the player in the middle picks up a ball and tosses it to the other player, who is standing with at least one foot on the poly spot, in his/her scoop. If the catch is successful, that player may put the ball in his bucket. If the catch is not successful, that player must roll the ball back to the middle and try again.

After a few minutes the teacher yells, "Freeze!" The players count up the number of balls in the bucket and one of them writes the score down on the paper. They empty the bucket and partners switch positions. Play as many rounds as time permits. At the completion of the activity, add all of the numbers up for a final tally.


To make it easier for the younger students, decrease the distance between the thrower and catcher.

This can be adapted to any age level using multiple math skills. It also could be used in language arts. Pick a word or phrase that the students are trying to spell. Every time they catch a ball and put it in the bucket, that equals a letter. When enough balls have been caught to spell the phrase, start another round.

Assessment Ideas:

Easy assessment for math is to look and see if the scores that the children add up are correct. While the players are throwing and catching, the teacher can walk around and visually assess proper throwing technique.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities

To pair the student(s) up with another student (so they would be in a group of 3) and have one of the other students help the student(s) with the disability pick up balls, catch, etc. Another suggestion is to allow the student(s) to stand close to the target when tossing, or not require the student to stand on a poly spot when catching.

Submitted by Stefanie Cain who teaches at Southwest Elementary School in Greenwood, IN. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 12/26/2010.
Viewed 41401 times since 11/24/2010.

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Scooper Math

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