By: Mark Banasiak @MoreThanGym
A year or so ago, I outlined a process we use to guide the students through writing their own lesson plans. I am always eager to observe and learn from the creativity of my students. This past school year, I watched as the students started working their magic. I looked over at one group and was blown away. They had taken a scooter that I have used for 18 years and turned it 90 degrees.
All of a sudden a whole new door of how to use a scooter was opened. They proceeded to stick half of a pool noodle in the handle that is now in the rear.
They were scooting around, and they looked like little remote control cars. My mind immediately started thinking about how we could use this idea.
What if we placed a juggling scarf in the tip of the noodle?
What if you tried to scoot around and capture other scarves while protecting your own?
So, we tried it. The first version may not have been the best; however, we made a few tweaks and ended up with an activity our students love called Scooter Tails.
Scooter Tails (Grades K-5)
Equipment: Each person or pair should have one scooter, one ½ noodle, and one juggling scarf. You should also have 2-3 tubs with extra scarves and a bucket of rings (sliced pool noodles) in the middle of the gym.
Organization: All students should sit around the perimeter of the gym with a partner. Allow all students to build their scooter tails (i.e., stick the ½ noodle upright in one of the handles and then stuff a scarf inside the tip of the tail).
Procedures: Upon a signal from the teacher, each student will begin to move around the gym while riding their scooter on their bottom. Each student should attempt to capture another student’s scarf. If your scarf is taken, you should stand, grab the tip of the tail, and drag your scooter (by the tail) to one of the tubs to get a new scarf. Note: You may want to establish safe zones where your scarf cannot be taken while getting a new scarf. I designate the center circle of the gym as a safe zone. If you collect three scarfs (one orange, one yellow, and one pink scarf), you may scoot to the middle of the gym and trade them in for one ring. When you come to the middle, you must have collected three scarves and still have your scarf in the tip of your tail! Each student is allowed to move around the gym while trying to avoid being tagged.
Variation: If you have a large class, allow them to work as partners. One person waits their turn while the other scoots around. You can call switch every 1-2 minutes or allow them to rotate themselves.
When cleaning up half noodles, they usually end up in a mess.
I have found it easier to lay the storage container on its side. The students can then lay the noodles in the container.
Once it is full, you can stand the container up.
After the success of Scooter Tails, my mind continued to ponder what else we could attach to the handle that is now in the rear. I tried attaching cones to the half noodle, but they were too heavy. I settled on hula hoops.
I first tied them and then used zip ties. Each of those were too time consuming and were semi-permanent. I did some research and found some Velcro cable ties online (they came in a 30’ roll and are used to bundle wires). I cut them into 7.5″ pieces.
The result is an activity we call Scooter Hoops.
Scooter Hoops (Grades 3-5)
Equipment: Each group will need a bean bag, a scooter, a Velcro connector, and a hoop (the hoop is connected to the scooter handle with the Velcro connector). You will also need a bucket of rings (sliced pool noodles) in the middle of the gym.
Organization: All students should sit in a group of 4 on a four square court (their home base). One team member will ride the scooter and be on defense while the remaining members are on offense.
Procedures: Upon a signal from the teacher, the first partner will leave their four square court and ride their scooter around the gym. They should position the scooter in a manner that allows the hoop to be behind them. The offense will work together to move the bean bag from their home base and attempt to toss the bean bag into their scooter hoop. One student on offense should pick up the bean bag while the others spread out. If a student is in possession of the bean bag, they are frozen and can only pivot and pass. If they are not in possession of the bean bag, they can move all around. They must pass the bean bag at least three times prior to attempting to toss their bean bag in the hoop. If a team drops the bean bag, misses a shot, or scores, they must return to their home base, reset, and start again. Meanwhile, the student on the scooter can keep moving around the gym. If you score, the passers each receive a ring. If you can drive for the entire round and not get scored on, you receive a ring. After 2-3 minutes, the teacher will send everyone back to their home base to reset and to rotate who is riding the scooter.
NOTE: Encourage the offense to make quick and short passes.
I LOVE this activity and have found success with having up to 20 of these going on simultaneously. The defense in this activity is simulated. There is no one actively guarding; however, each student has to move and toss around other students. Each group of three is in their own little world while maneuvering through and around others.
When storing your scooters, consider placing them back-to-back and wheels to wheels in order to maximize space.
Have you ever turned the scooters 90 degrees? If not, I encourage you to do so!
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