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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“If a Bee Stings You, Give it a Flower”

Perspective:  Seeing life through the lens of a child. 

Recently, we were deep into the culminating lesson of our team handball unit. After several fundamental classes based on skills and lead-up games, we decided it would be fun to break our class into teams of three to play small-sided, competitive games. The students would have a chance to apply their well-rehearsed skills plus their new and existing knowledge of strategy to a competitive setting. We, the teachers, would also have the opportunity to observe and reinforce gamesmanship and proper game etiquette. After all, once the scoreboard is turned on, sportsmanship can take on multiple personalities. Our numbers allowed us to have four games going on at once. Three of the four games were in cruise control. We witnessed shared responsibilities, movement from each player, strategic passes, integrity, and positive communication. They were a thing of beauty.

Our fourth game was equally poetic…or so we thought.

It is customary during the closing minutes of our classes to meet in the center of the gym as a group to process the day’s lesson. On this occasion, we asked the students to comment on their games, specifically, the participation, communication, gamesmanship, and integrity. Following several uplifting comments and compliments, one student raised her hand and stated that her team was NOT nice to her.

“When I dropped a pass, one of my teammates yelled at me. It’s not like I meant to miss the ball. It made me NOT want to play anymore.” Nearly in tears, it was apparent the girl was sincerely stung by the words of her teammate.

Anticipating a rebuttal from at least one of her teammates, there was nothing but silence. With the end of our time together quickly approaching, I was about to intervene when a hand shot up in the center of the group. Eager to share, the student exuded her familiar look of confidence and determination as she calmly waited to be called upon. It was a look that said, I know exactly how to remedy this situation.

I gladly called on Celeste.

My mom was recently trying to sell our house. She spent a lot of time getting the house in order so that people who were interested in buying the house would be impressed. She even baked cookies so the house would smell nice. A man and a woman came to look at our house. They were kind of obnoxious. They were saying things that didn’t make my mom happy. They didn’t seem to appreciate our house. When they left, my mom was really sad. She had worked so hard. So I just told my mom If a bee stings you, give it a flower! Maybe they had a bad day. Maybe they need us to be nice to them. Don’t let their mean words hurt you. Instead, maybe they need our kind words. We have a beautiful house, and it even smells like cookies.”

 With that, there was a brief silence in the gym. Thirty-nine other students and two teachers were in complete reflection mode. Celeste’s words were INDEED the perfect remedy for the situation. If a bee stings you, give it a flower.  So simple. So meaningful.

“How can we apply this to our situation?”

Without hesitation, Celeste responded. “That’s easy! You look the person who was being mean in the eye, and with a smile give them a friendly pat on the shoulder, then carry on. Go about your business. When people tell me I’m short, I just shrug my shoulders, give them a smile and go about my business.”

Often in life, we’re going to get stung by a bee. People are going to say or do mean things to us. How we respond to that bee sting is up to us. You can leave in the stinger, allowing it to fester and get infected, and over time, the pain will eventually lessen then go away. Or you could remove the stinger, apply ice, and understand the bee was simply trying to survive and protect itself or its family.

In any case, we should reflect not only on Celeste’s empathetic and compassionate statement, but the action she had poised behind those words.  As parents and teachers, we are constantly looking for the perfect, appropriate, and impacting lessons to impart on our kids. But maybe next time conflict arises, we should stop our words in their tracks and allow children to share their thoughts, flourishing in their own teachable moments.

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Search #trinitype to see what my amazing PE team is doing with their classes.

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Olympic Alphabet Fitness Bingo

Here’s a simple warm-up for your PE classes called OLYMPIC ALPHABET FITNESS BINGO! Organize your students in groups of four. Give them an Olympic Alphabet Fitness Bingo card.

Challenge: How many squares can your group complete together in 5 minutes?

  1. Take turns choosing a word on the Bingo card.
  2. Match each letter of the word to the “Alphabet Fitness Key” to decipher your workout.
  3. Complete the exercises associated with each letter.



L – 25 lunges

U – 15 Squats

G – 10 Arm Circles

E – 20 Mountain Climbers

Click OLYMPIC ALPHABET FITNESS BINGO  for a copy of the challenge!

I’m sure there are other ways to use this challenge. Let me know if your discover any!


If you enjoyed this post, consider following my blog to receive future posts.

Follow me on Twitter:

Search #trinitype to see what my amazing PE team is doing with their classes.

Check out my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion!

Youtube Channel

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