As we near the end of the school year here at the Nanjing International School in China, my grade 3 students have begun a Target Games unit. To introduce them to the unit, I had them take part in a number of different activities that essentially focused either on throwing or kicking a beanbag toward a target. I also let them use numbered dots and throw these dots frisbee-style toward different targets around the gym.
They could choose any targets they wanted, short, medium or long distances. What were these targets? I actually had them select different shapes made by intersecting and paralell lines on the gym floor. Badiminton court lines (single and doubles), volleyball court lines, and basketball court lines. When you look at all of these lines, lots of different shapes are formed; small and large squares and rectangles, circles, semi-circles, and other odd-shapes. Any shape that they selected served as targets. It was a very differentiated way to introduce target games as they could select any shape they wanted. If they wanted a close, big target no problem! If they wanted a far, small target, again no problem.
Once they had a while to practice on their own, I teamed them up with a partner and they had a target games match against one another. Partner A would select a target and a way to advance the object of choice toward a chosen target. For example, they could have selected a bean bag to throw or the numbered dot to frisbee throw. Once they got their chosen object into the desired target, both partners compared how many attempts it took. If they tied, both received a half point. If somebody was able to get their object into the target in fewer attempts, they received a full point. Partner A and B switched up in choosing a method of delivery and the target.
During the class, we paused several times to discuss what they already knew about target games. I recorded their initial thoughts on a poster-sized piece of paper that was stuck to the wall ahead of time. I also recorded what they need to know in Target Games. Their answers, in general, aligned with what the student learning outcomes for the Target Games unit are. Next class, I will introduce these learning outcomes to the students and set them off designing ways to improve upon their aim and accuracy and methods of delivery. I hope that it will be a rewarding unit for them. Fingers crossed!!