The P.E. Department at Central Elementary located in Rockbridge County, VA, loves to teach our students about cross curricular and teamwork activities. This activity called “Human Bowling” teaches both. We have taught bowling for the four years I have been teaching at CES. Human Bowling is taught in our Underhand Throwing/Rolling Unit. We will also incorporate it into our Teamwork Cooperative Unit. This will be an activity that we will revisit with our students because they enjoy it so much.
This is also the first year we have taught how to score bowling. Scoring bowling involves addition and is great for the students to learn. Therefore, when they go to a bowling alley the students will understand the score that is shown to them on the monitor.
Recommended Age Group: Grades 2-5
NOTE: For our school, the setup for this activity is a little tight since we do have 40-50 students participating at one time. We did have to put that into consideration for safety reasons.
We did this activity the entire length of the gym floor using 5 scooter and bowling pin stations. At one end of the gym is where the scooter and the harness (or rope) is located. The bowling pin stations are located straight across from the scooter stations. We used 10 bowling pins for each station. Since there are 6 large inflatable bowling pins, we combined two pack of six. You can also use plastic or foam bowling pins. With our large classes, we had 9 students at each station.
“Human Bowling” has been a hit during P.E. at @CentralBears1. Thank you to @SSWorldwide for the large inflatable bowling pins and harness. Ss also keep their own score on laminated score sheets with a dry erase marker #physed #pegeeks #iteachpe #elempe #peteacher @12stubrown pic.twitter.com/nDpudxFeeb
— CES PE (@pe_ces) February 18, 2019
One student is the human bowling ball and sits with legs criss crossed on the scooter. Another student is located near the bowling pins keeping score. One student is the pin reset person, and the other six are the harness pullers. The human bowling pin person on the scooter holds onto the middle section of the harness where there is no handles, and the pullers are divided three and three on either side of the scooter.
In this activity, we had to use the harness horizontal for safety. You may also use thick strong rope. Each team is to bowl when the team beside them is not – this prevents teams from running into one another. The person on the harness will count down from 3, 2, 1, and then the team will start to go and pull the person on the scooter. The rope or harness needs to stay at a higher level to prevent it from hitting the neck of the person on the scooter. The team will pull to a certain line. We used the half court line with Grades 4 and 5. Grades 2 and 3 can go to the red line that is closer to the pins.
The person on the scooter is responsible for pulling themselves with the rope at the last second and throw the rope or harness up high over their head to prevent injuries. As the person on the scooter throws the rope up high over their head, the team pullers also do not let go of the rope or harness and they also hold it up high. The human bowling ball will need to stay as small as possible by holding the sides of the scooter and not reach out with their arms or feet to try and knock over more bowling pins.
Half of the gym turns into a cafeteria in the middle of our 3rd grade class so we had to do it from half court at one point and the students did great.
Each team member gets to go two times in a row to get the highest score possible, and then the pins need to be reset and the next student is to go. The score recorder becomes the pin resetter, the pin resetter goes to be the human bowler, the human bowler is one of the harness pullers, and the one of the harness pullers become the score keeper.
We made a score card ourselves with Google Sheets and we laminated it so that they are reusable with dry erase markers. To keep it simple, we used two blocks to keep score in all frames and one big empty box underneath for the running score. You can wipe away the scores with tissues, napkins, or any type of towel. You can use lysol wipes to clean it thoroughly if it has been used a lot.
Adapted PE Variation
We do have two students with special needs in our school. One student already has an adaptive scooter that was purchased for her, so she hangs onto the harness and the students pull her through the pins. Her adaptive scooter lets her feet hit the floor so I had to add a second scooter to prop her feet on so she would roll without stopping. The other young lady can get on a regular scooter, but may not stay on without her PE buddy, so we will have the PE buddy go with her on another scooter beside her helping her stay on. We will use the same process as the other student. The students pulling them know to go slower for safety reasons.
Adapted Human Bowling 🎳 EVERYONE was 😃 #physed #AdaptedPE #elempe #cooperativegames @pecentral @thepespecialist @justybubPE @SSWorldwide @physed @ConnectedPE #pegeeks @physedreview @PhysEdDepot @vahperd @SHAPE_America @OPENPhysEd #peteacher @12stubrown pic.twitter.com/Xg16nRWpPD
— CES PE (@pe_ces) February 28, 2019
About the Author
My name is Ms. G and this is my 20th year teaching. This is my fourth year at Central Elementary School. Previously, I had taught one year of high school and 15 years at a middle school. I am a proud graduate of Bridgewater College located in Bridgewater, VA. I was also a part of the women’s basketball team. My co worker is Mr. Brown and this is his 13th year of teaching. He has been teaching at the elementary level his entire career except for one year when he taught alternative education. Mr. Brown is a proud graduate of Ole Miss and he was a member of the football team.
This year my co worker and I started a Twitter to share some of our activities with the rest of the P.E. world. Please follow us @pe_ces.