Blowing off S.T.E.A.M. in PE: Design a Kicking Tee for Football

How this video and the process my sons’ took to create a kicking tee inspired this challenge!

It began one morning in January when my sons wanted to go to the soccer field in our neighborhood to practice kicking field goals with an American football. Instead of an actual field goal post, they would use the soccer goals measuring about six feet high and ten feet across. I always admire the way kids can improvise.  *Click Blowing Off Steam – Football Tee for an editable copy of the challenge.

“Has anyone seen the kicking tee?” I didn’t have the heart to tell the boys that one of our dogs had used the tee as a chew toy several months back.

The Typical Kicking Tee
Typical Kicking Tee

A kicking tee is used to hold the football in place, allowing the kicker to kick the ball. The alternative is having a brave sibling or friend (or father) hold the football between the ground and index finger, often resulting in a kicked digit. I’ve been there on many occasions. Ask Charlie Brown what else can tend to happen when someone holds the ball for you.

After several minutes of searching, rather than giving up, they began to once again improvise. They tried balancing the football on a large bottle cap but alas, it kept tipping over. Next, they attempted to balance the ball on the ground by digging a small divot. This had limited success and they didn’t want to keep digging every time they needed to increase the distance of the field goal attempt. Back to the drawing board!

How about a roll of duct tape? The football stood perfectly in the roll, however, too much of it was covered. Each attempt resulted in the roll being kicked, rather than the football.

Duct Tape Tee

Their minds began to shift from a traditional kicking tee to a football holder.

Football Holder
Football Holder

“Why don’t we try a stick with a “v” shape on one end.”

My son’s diagram

For the next fifteen minutes, the boys searched the wooded area for a stick that fit their description. No luck!

The Tinker Tee

Just when I thought they were about to ask me to sacrifice my fingers, they took another trip back to the lab (playroom). They pulled out the Tinker Toys and began to design a functional football holder through trial and error. Back and forth they travelled between the playground and their lab, making subtle tweaks to their design. Finally, they had it! They created the perfect apparatus for their mission. Check out their creation, the “Tinker Tee,” in action.

Witnessing my sons’ take on this dilemma, inspired me to create the latest “Blowing Off S.T.E.A.M. in PE” Design Challenge. I hope you and your students can find it fun and challenging. Good luck!

Click Blowing Off Steam – Football Tee for an editable copy of the challenge.

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4 Comments on “Blowing off S.T.E.A.M. in PE: Design a Kicking Tee for Football

  1. Your sons continue to impress me with their determination, tenacity and creativeness. Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Pingback: The PE Playbook – March 2018 Edition – drowningintheshallow

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