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Name of Activity:

Popcorn Basketball with Large Groups

Purpose of Activity:

To work on basketball skills when you have a large group of students.


Basic catching, throwing, and shooting skills

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Six basketball goals (as set up in a gym with 2 end goals and 4 side goals)
Eight colored foam balls for each goal (each goal using a different colored ball)
Cones to create the arc under each goal
2 pinnies (jerseys) for each goal (ideally the color of the balls at that goal)
One large binder clip for each net

Description of Idea

This game was developed as an idea to incorporate large groups (multiple classes) in a smaller space when weather doesn't permit us to go outside. Our students enjoy playing it. There is very little down time in this game. We have used it for up to 70 students at a time.

This is a fast moving game that allows players to work on throwing, catching, shooting skills as well as evading and defending tactics. The object of this game is to shoot balls into your opponents' goals while defending your own goal. Using teamwork and game strategy, the team will determine the best way to do this. Once a goal is filled up with the 8 balls of its team's color, the round is over. At the end of each round, the number of all balls in each goal will be counted and recorded. at the end of class (5-6 rounds) the totals will be calculated to determine the winning team, the team with the FEWEST balls counted in its basket.

To begin, each team of 6-8 students is assigned a goal. Each team has a color represented by the color of the balls at their basket and by the two pennies worn by the "goalies". The net on each goal has been clipped at the bottom to keep balls from falling through the net. Once a ball enters the net, it stays in the net until the end of the round. Under each basket, an arc is created with cones. The arc should be about 15' to the free throw line and out to the wings of the court. The only players allowed in the arc are the "goalies" designated by the pennies they are wearing. The goalies will retrieve missed shots and throw the balls away from their goal.

To start the game, all players will start lined up on the outside of their arc with their team's balls. On command, all balls will be thrown high and far away from each basket. Now the game has begun. Each team will now focus on retrieving the balls of their opponents (NOT THEIR OWN COLOR) and getting those balls into their opponent's baskets. Players will focus on offense and defense of their goal. Players may run with the balls and pass the balls as necessary.

Defending another player is done by shielding the opponent or defending shots on goal, as done in basketball. There should be no contact between players. Defenders may not take the ball away from the offensive player or hit the ball out of their hands. The defender must remain a safe distance away from the offensive player, as in Ultimate Frisbee.

Teams may want to designate goalies, defenders and scorers as well as develop a strategy for game play.

Players may not hit other players with the balls or demonstrate any unsportsmanlike behavior.

At the end of each round, (when one goal has reached 8 balls in its goal) all players will return to their goals while the teacher uses a yard stick or other implement to knock the balls out of the goal and count them. This process goes more quickly by increasing the number of people designated to empty the goals and record the totals.

During this time, players will recover (catch their breath) and discuss strategies to use going forward.

Assessment Ideas:

Observation of game strategies used

Observation of using proper throwing, catching, and shooting skills

Observation of evading and defending skills

Teaching Suggestions:

The goals can be lowered to accommodate all skill levels.

This game has positions that allow for students to place themselves into spots that may better match their ability levels, e.g., the goalie needs only to be able to retrieve the missed shots and throw the ball away from the goal or to a nearby teammate.

Submitted by Paul Smith who teaches at Little Mill Middle School in Cumming, GA. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 2/12/2018.
Viewed 60303 times since 1/25/2018.

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Popcorn Basketball with Large Groups

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Previous Comments:


Looks like a cool game. Going to try it next year. Can you add a graphic on how you set up the arcs?

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