Pool Sharks – A PE version of BILLIARDS

Pool Sharks began as a station (center) with my second-grade students several years ago. I placed a hula hoop, half a pool noodle, and a 6-inch gator ball in the corner of the gym. Imagining the noodle as a pool stick and the hoop as a pocket on a billiard table, students were challenged to strike the ball into the pocket from varying distances. The station quickly became a favorite. Soon I added other ways to play pool sharks throughout the year. Below are several ideas that you may find fun and engaging.

See several variations of pool sharks listed below.

I featured pool sharks in my MASTER THE MINUTE (minute to win it) post several years ago. Watch this young contestant’s successful run!

During the pandemic, I introduced an at-home version of pool sharks using cans instead of hoops.


  • EXPERIMENTATION – I spread out a bunch of hula hoops throughout the gym. I give students the freedom to shoot at any hoop from any spot. Students quickly experiment with accuracy and pace as they try to ease the ball over the edge of the hoop.
  • HORSE – After the experimentation round, students pair up to play the basketball version of HORSE. Students take turns choosing a spot to shoot from. If the first student makes the shot then the second student must then make the same shot. If the second student misses, he/she receives the first letter, “H.” The first student to spell horse loses the round.
  • AROUND THE WORLD –  I spread out more hoops than there are students around the perimeter of the room. For a class of 20, I’ll spread out around 25 hoops. I place one poly spot in front of each hoop (vary the distances). This is where students take their first shots. Each student begins at a different hoop. When the game begins, they shoot at their hoops. If they miss the first shot, they shoot from wherever the ball stops. This continues until the ball goes into the hoop. Once the shot is made, students move counterclockwise to the next hole. Who can make it around the world before time expires?
  • SHOOT FOR A HOOP – Spread out as many hoops as possible in the center of the gym. In pairs, students find a spot anywhere on the perimeter (use spots or the sidelines and end lines). Students take turns shooting the ball into the center, trying to land the ball inside a hoop. If the ball stops in a hoop, the student takes the hoop back to their spot. If the ball lands outside the hoop, the ball and pool noodle are returned to the partner who then takes a turn. The goal is for the entire class the clear the hoops in a given amount of time.

These are ways that we play pool sharks. I’d love to learn how YOU play.

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