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Roll, Kick, or Throw?

Which ball is bigger, basketball or soccer? Tennis or baseball? Measure and compare sizes and shapes of balls used in classmates’ favorite sports.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to collect various sports balls. Find balls used in games played around the world (cricket, petanque, boules, bocce, croquet) as well as other family favorites. Encourage students to look at the different textures, stitching, lacing, and shapes of the balls. What characteristics make each ball unique? How do these features affect the game?
    2. Work in teams to measure the balls’ heights. Here’s one way to make a chart to show how their sizes compare.
    3. On posterboard, measure and mark even intervals (inches and millimeters) with a Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencil. Draw horizontal lines and label each line.
    4. Students draw at least five sports balls on white paper in their actual sizes. Shape Crayola Model Magic into the same sizes and 2-D shapes as your drawings. To get the ball color wanted, knead Model Magic with Crayola Washable Gel Marker color. Add details such as laces, stitches, or texture. Air-dry the balls overnight.
    5. With Crayola School Glue, attach the balls to the graph. Compare their sizes and shapes with those that other students represented.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.

    MATH: Understand that attributes belonging to a category of two-dimensional figures also belong to all subcategories of that category.

    MATH: Use a pair of perpendicular number lines, called axes, to define a coordinate system, with the intersection of the lines (the origin) arranged to coincide with the 0 on each line and a given point in the plane located by using an ordered pair of numbers, called its coordinates. Understand that the first number indicates how far to travel from the origin in the direction of one axis, and the second number indicates how far to travel in the direction of the second axis, with the convention that the names of the two axes and the coordinates correspond (e.g., x-axis and x-coordinate, y-axis and y-coordinate).

    VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Sports Illustrated Kids Big Book of Why Sports Edition by Sports Illustrated Kids; The Everything Kids' Soccer Book: Rules, techniques, and more about your favorite sport! by Deborah W. Cristfield; The Best of Everything Basketball Book by Nate LeBoutillier

    Encourage students to plot the various sports balls on the coordinate plane to illustrate the differences in sizes of height and width.

    Students can use a similar graph to compare various sizes of fruits, flowers, etc. that they are studying.

    Students create a 3-D model of a favorite sports ball using Crayola Model Magic. Once complete, students measure the circumference of their models and calculate the radius and diameter of the ball.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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