One of these days my son was reading in a Romanian book about an ancient game named Pelota. The meaning of Pelota in Basque language is “ball”. The game is dated back in the 13th century and it was declared an Olympic sport and demonstrated in the Summer Olympics, Barcelona, 1992.
Two players or two teams are facing each other and they are separated by a line on the wall or ground. The player can use his hands, a racket, a bat or a basket! There are various ways to play Pelota which can be found on the official website of this sport.
Perfect Net and Wall game, I said. Luckily we are in the middle of such unit in grade 3. We use Superscoops and the students play it individually or by pairs using their underhand or overhand motion to send the ball to the wall and catch it with the Superscoops before the returning action.
At the beginning we focus by pairs on managing as many rallies as possible in a given time. One of the players sends the ball to the wall and the opponent will try to catch it before it bounces twice. The students decide the boundaries and mark them. It is a constructivist approach with the players collaborating towards the same goal.
In the next step they decide how to score: some decide to score points every time they catch the ball with the scoops before the second bounce, others are using mathematical concepts such as angling to deceive their opponents. Creating game boundaries is a challenge for some but is fun to assist little disputes and tension is part of the learning cycle, isn’t it?
The last stage comes with a change: in teams of two design boundaries, agree on the scoring methods and enjoy the game. It is interesting to see that a few teams alternate their turns on returning the ball to the wall while others use communication between its members before deciding on who returns the ball. An original version is introduced by two teams who decide to number their players and call the desired number before hitting the ball. Maximising the attention skills was one of their strengths and goals, apparently.
We enjoyed ourselves by inquiring into how different versions of how Pelota game can be played. The players owned this process which required little modelling and mostly firm safety rules at the beginning. Their practice was centered on the skills of the unit while constructing a better understanding of how rules and safety are preparing the ground for a meaningful experience. Achieving all of these and being active makes this activity a must in this unit. If you don’t find the Superscoops in the store, make sure you order some.
How do you make your lessons meaningful and memorable? Leave your thoughts here.
See here an interesting movie about how a version of Pelota can be played.