Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Keep Your Eye on the Ball... or Jump Rope, or Traffic Cone

Inventing a Sport

James Doyle, Keiana Cross, Teresa Lansford | Published: July 14th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject Physical Education
  • Course Course Physical Education
  • Duration More 2-3 periods


In this lesson, students will invent a new sport. Students will begin by playing a short round of ultimate Frisbee® or other sport and discussing what makes it a sport. Students will then read about the four components that make a sports game. Finally, students will use gym equipment to invent a new sport and share it with the class.

Essential Question(s)

How are sports made?



Students play a quick round of ultimate Frisbee®.


Students brainstorm a list of what makes ultimate a sport.


Students compete in a relay to learn about rules of play in games and share a Point of Most Significance.


Students design a new sport using available gym equipment.


Students give each other feedback and refine their new sport into a 60-second Elevator Speech.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Sport Feedback Form (attached; one per student)

  • Design a Sport (attached; one per student)

  • Sport Design Choice Board (attached; one per small group)

  • Template—Sport Design Choice Board (create your own)

  • Several pieces of gym equipment

  • Sticky notes

  • Pens/pencils

  • Deck of playing cards (optional)


25 Minute(s)

Use the attached Lesson Slides to guide the lesson. Display slides 3–4 to introduce the essential question and lesson objectives.

Divide students into two equal teams.

Display slide 5. Instruct students to play one round of a game that needs little to no explanation: ultimate Frisbee®. If your students need a rules explanation, there is a brief synopsis of Ultimate in 10 Simple Rules.

After the round has concluded, instruct students to sit down around center court and await further instructions. This lesson can be adapted to work with any sport in the Engage as long as it involves all students being active at once.


15 Minute(s)

Display slide 6.

Ask students to independently brainstorm a list of what makes ultimate a sport. After students have completed their lists, move students into groups of no more than four and have them share their lists within their small groups.

After the small-group discussion, ask students to share their knowledge with the whole class. Chart their answers on a whiteboard to create a Collaborative Word Cloud.


20 Minute(s)

Gather students at the opposite end of your space from the cones. Explain that they will be running a relay in teams to collect four Rules of Play. For each round, one student runs down to a cone and returns with a rule. The runner has to select a cone, run only to that cone, and return. They cannot visit multiple cones in a turn. Explain that their team needs to keep track of which rules they have collected. They can only collect one of each rule. If their team member runs to a cone and they already have all of the rules still at that cone they have to return empty handed and trade off with a new team member to try a different cone.

Once a group has all of their rules, ask each student to decide which rule they feel is the most important to a game and share within their group.

Display slide 8. Inform students they will create a new sport based on game design fundamentals about rules of play.

Pass out the Design a Sport handout to each student. Give students five minutes to read through the "Rules of Play" section.

Next, ask each group to share what they think is the Point of Most Significance they will keep in mind as they design their new sport.


40 Minute(s)

Display slide 9. Keep students in small groups of no more than four.

Tell students to read the "Additional Guidelines" section of the Design a Sport handout.

Pass out one Sport Design Choice Board to each small group. Let students know their new sport must use at least two items in the Choice Board, no more than three, and they cannot use more than one item per column. Provide all of the available gym class equipment: soccer balls, footballs, cones, jump rope, hoops, etc.

Give students 20 minutes to create the rules for their sport and document them in the "Your Design" section of the Design a Sport handout. Encourage students to consider if they think others would enjoy playing it.


30 Minute(s)

Display slide 10. Pair small groups together and ask them to playtest each other’s new sport. After playtesting, pass out a Game Feedback handout to each student.

Give students time to read through the feedback and make any revisions to their sport.

Display slide 11. After playtesting and reviewing feedback, tell each group to refine their rules into a 60-second Elevator Speech. Have each group give their Elevator Speech to the whole class.

Display slide 12. Pass out sticky notes and pens/pencils, at least one per student. Ask students to vote for the sport they want to play during the next class period.