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Name of Activity:

Radioactive River

Purpose of Activity:

To work together as a team, show positive sports-personship and figure out solutions to the problems presented.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

6-8 cones, 2-3 scooters (depending on the number of teams you have), 3-8 carpet squares

Description of Idea

Set half of the cones up on one side of the activity area, spreading all the way down the long side of the area. Set the other half of cones on the other side of the activity area, accross from the first set of cones. This will be the "river" and you can determine the width of the river should be depending on your students.

Form class into either two or three teams. Give each team one scooter and two or three carpet squares. Explain to them that their mission is to get their entire team accross the "river" without having anyone touch the radioactive river. If any member of the team touches the river at any time, the whole team must start over.

If the team has to start over, make sure the students know that the next person to go accross the river is the next person in line. The students that were already accross the river go to the end of the line. This allows for everyone to have a chance to get accross.

After the lesson, be sure and debrief about team work, cooperation, discuss where students could use these skills, and how these skills may correspond to their lives. Feel free to use the Cooperation Assessment Sheet located in the Assessment Section of PE Cetral as a written assessment of this activity.


To add a challenge take a couple carpet squares away.

Insist that the leaders of the groups they can't talk during the mission.

Blindfold a few students.

The following activity is a variation on several of the activities taken from Team Building Through Physical Challenges by Glover and Midura, 1992. It is reprinted by permission from the publisher, Human Kinetics (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers), [page 25, 52]. Reproduction of this material is forbidden without written permission of the publisher. To order the book or to seek permission, call Human Kinetics at 1-800-747-4457 or visit the HK web site:

Submitted by Jennifer Peltier who teaches at Cheldelin Middle School in Corvallis, OR. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 8/29/2001.
Viewed 321830 times since 8/24/2001.

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Radioactive River

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Let others know how this idea went when you implemented/tried it with your kids. Include any variations, suggested teaching tips, positive comments, etc. so others can benefit from your tips. Please be helpful and positive with all comments. Look below to see all posted comments.



Previous Comments:


It's great that you are getting thoughts from
this piece of writing as well as from our argument made at this time.

Ms. G

I did this with 1st grade students and it was amazing. To make it a bit easier i used tape to mark off the teams sections and each group of 10 received about 5 circular stepping mats. AWESOME!!


This game was great my students really enjoyed it it also work with older kids!


This is a great game! All of the kids loved it, it was very fun for them. They thought it was challenging and they loved it!


Are you allowed to pick up the carpet and replace it and use it over and over until every one crosses


My students really enjoyed this game! I did it with grades 4-6 and they were all able to complete it.


I think this game is sooo much fun!It really gets your brain going!!!


The carpet squares are part of the equipment for the students to use to cross. There are no direct instructions because the purpose is for the students to figure out how to use and set everything up so that they can get from point A to point B without touching the floor.


I'm working on teamwork and cooperation concepts and this is a perfect game. I give each team one exercise mat and a scooter and use two rubber baseball mats (I don't have carpet squares). Then I will take away the exercise mat to make it more challenging. This is a great discussion on which team was using good cooperation skills. No put downs is really important!


Another incomplete description on pecentral. But I'm assuming that you are using the carpet squares as "safe" area's in crossing the river??

D. Slaton

This is a great lesson! If you have additional time in the period, try doing the same activity again but giving the students other, more challenging pieces of equipment. See if they can take what they've learned the first time and apply it to a new situation.

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