What’s up Phys Ed Family!
One of my all time favorite content areas to teach is Throwing and Catching. I’ve blogged previously about some of my favorite games like Hula Hut Throwdown or Monster Ball. I love throwing and catching because there are just so many different games and activities you can play around those 2 skills.
This week I wanted to give you another one of my favorite throwing games for my 3rd graders and up, it’s called Boom City.
After that we get right into the game.
Check out the video below for a basic overview:
Note: In the video above, I didn’t go into any additional levels or variations of the game, but if you download the Free Lesson Plan at the bottom of this post you’ll find more details and examples of how I gamify this activity for my students to increase complexity and motivation (especially the older students).
Here’s an overview of the game
- Benches (or folded up mats)
- Lots of soft balls for throwing
- 2 Buckets of Rings (or anything else to track points – popsicle sticks, noodle slices etc)
- Wristbands or jerseys to designate teams
- 4-6 pool noodles
To try and get the most rings in your team’s bucket before the time runs out.
The team with the highest number of rings in their bucket at the end of the round is the winner and will receive one point.
Discuss strategies, offer refinements, reset the rings and play again.
Add additional levels when appropriate before starting the next round
The team with the most points at the end of the class time will be declared the “Boom City Champions”
3 Jobs in the game:
- Throwers – throw a ball from behind the midline to a catcher on your team
- Catcher – go stand on the opposite side on the bench, try to catch a ball in order to steal a ring
- Blocker – stand in from of the black square and attempt to block the thrown balls from the other team
- To count as a successful catch – the catcher must have 2 feet on the bench and catch the ball in the air
- When a catcher catches a ball successfully, they must do three things
- 1.) SPIKE THE BALL
- 2.) YELL BOOM CITY
- 3.) STEAL A RING – go steal a ring from the opposing teams bucket (behind the bench) and run across the gym to place the items in their own teams bucket *Have students say “SPIKE THE BALL… BOOM CITY… STEAL A RING”
- You may only carry one ring at a time
- Penalty Box (self counted 60 mississippi’s on the side wall) for any rule violation
- Throwing a ball past the midline
- Blocking a ball while in the middle square (no blocking in the catching zone)
- Taking more than one ring
- You can go ANYWHERE to get a ball, BUT you must come to your side of the gym to throw it
After explaining the rules to the students and demonstrating each job – allow each team to have 1 minute to discuss their strategies for success and then start the music to begin the gameplay. After each round, have the students all meet back in the middle and declare the round winner and discuss strategies. Then reset the rings/points in the correct bucket and begin the next round. Play as many rounds as you can in the time you have.
*Note Explain additional levels if you want after each round
Level Examples (Game Extensions)
Level 2: Add nerf footballs. Same rules, except now you can get 2 points for a one handed catch. One handed catch means no other part of your body touches the ball except for your hand (not one hand + head, not one hand + belly). If a catcher catches a football with 2 hands they still get one ring.
Level 3: Give each team 2-3 noodles for the blockers to use to try and block the thrown balls
Level 4: Add foam frisbees. Foam frisbees are also worth 2 rings when caught
Game Variations and Modifications
- Use different equipment for throwing (Frisbees, soft volleyballs, yarn balls, larger or smaller balls, soft footballs, launch the items out of an elastic band launcher)
- If you don’t have enough benches you can use the area behind the end line as the “in-zone”, however I like having the catchers stand on something, because it increases their catches, which increases physical activity and boosts self confidence. You could also use folded gymnastics mats, chairs or aerobic steps.
- Have students punt the ball, strike with a paddle, or volleyball serve it instead of throwing to work on different skills
Strategies to discuss with students
- Communicate – call their name or make eye contact before you throw it to someone on the bench
- Even numbers of throwers and catchers to keep the flow moving (or more catchers bc it takes longer to catch/spike/steal a point than it does to throw a ball. If your team has a really good thrower, they could keep a lot of people busy catching and running the rings.
- While you are blocking – catch a ball and throw it to your team members (2 jobs at once)
- Taller people might be better at blocking/catching (know your team’s strengths)
- If you are able to throw a Frisbee or football accurately it’s worth more points, but if you can’t it’s probably not worth it (know your strengths)
- Run fast & gather multiple items at a time not just one
- Throw a rainbow – this is good because it will go over the blockers and also it gives the catcher more time to get ready because the ball is in the air for a longer amount of time
- Get close to the middle line so you don’t have as far to throw the ball
- Always keep an eye out for what job your team is in need of someone to fill.
- Eg.) if there are a bunch of catchers and no throwers – step off the bench and become a catcher
That’s it friends!
Hope you enjoy teaching and playing this game with your students.
If you want a detailed lesson plan, you can download it for free below:
Have Fun and Teach On