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Name of Activity:

Traffic Jam

Academic content:

English/Language Arts

Purpose of Activity:

The purpose of the activity is to teach students the various parts of speech found in sentences (including nouns and verbs), while also implementing various locomotor skills.


Prior to participating in this activity, students should be exposed to the definitions as well as multiple examples of nouns and verbs. This activity serves primarily as a review for addressing the different parts of speech. Students also need to be efficient at moving through the general space without collisions.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

20-30 cones, different colored index cards (one color for nouns another for verbs), markers, and tapes

Physical activity:

Locomotor and Manipulative skills

Description of Idea

Directions for Activity:
1. Prior to the lesson, scatter cones around the area/classroom.

2. Label cones with either nouns or verbs in both English and Spanish. (There will be an equal number of each.) In order to label cones, create a list of nouns and verbs. The verbs should consist of different locomotor skills, i.e., walking, running, skipping, hopping, and jumping. Use different colored index cards for nouns and verbs and write each verb/noun on one index card. Tape the index card to the cone.

3. After setting up cones, review with students the definitions of nouns and verbs. A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. A verb is an action word.

4. Divide students in half. (A good way to do this is to have students form a line and count 1, 2.) The "1's" will form one team and the "2's" will form another team.

5. Explain rules.
• The “nouns” team will have to tip the cones over that are labeled with verbs. However, before tipping over the cone they must perform the action verb consisting of a locomotor skill labeled around the cone 6-8 times. For instance, for the cone that is labeled “hop,” the student must hop 6-8 times around the cone and then tip it over. The students who are “nouns” must also pick up the cones labeled with nouns that are tipped over.
• The “verb” team will do the opposite of the “noun” team. This team will tip over the cones labeled with nouns and pick up the cones labeled with verbs. As they pick up the cones labeled with verbs, they must complete the action stated on the cone.
• Game ends when teacher says, “Stop!”

6. Play multiple rounds of the game. Have students reverse roles: make the “nouns” team become the “verbs” team, and vice-versa.


1- For younger students you can change the lesson to learning only about nouns, and instead of using verbs have the lesson be on nouns and proper nouns (which could form the two teams). However, if keeping the lesson on nouns and verbs, pick easier nouns and verbs to identify. Also, for younger students modify the locomotor skills addressed, making sure they are developmentally appropriate. For older students, you could change the lesson to focus on adverbs and adjectives. However, if keeping the lesson on nouns and verbs, make the nouns and verbs more difficult (include proper nouns, as well as helping verbs. Also increase the locomotor skills by making students do sets of the ones listed, i.e., if the card says “jump,” have students jump 10-12 times.

2- Use only the Spanish version of the nouns and verbs.

Assessment Ideas:

Teacher can informally observe students' responses and understanding of nouns and verbs by watching which cones they tip over. In addition, teacher can also assess students' abilities to accurately perform the locomotor skills stated on the cones.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities

The activity addresses diverse populations as it allows participation from all types of students. It can be modified to include multiple languages. It can be used with those who are physically disabled or confined to a wheelchair. (The student confined to a wheelchair can roll to the cones and use his/her hand to knock them over.) It can be used for those of low cognitive ability by integrating high frequency nouns and verbs. It can be used for any gender or sex by including verbs and nouns that both genders would recognize such as swim and baseball/softball).

Submitted by Kristen Dodd in Greenville, SC. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 2/15/2012.
Viewed 54238 times since 1/1/2012.

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Traffic Jam

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