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Examples of culturally diverse activities and challenges

This is an excerpt from Urban Physical Education by Rhonda Clements & Amy Meltzer-Rady.

El Circulo Handball


➜ Origin and Purpose

In 1050, French monks played jeu de paume, which meant hitting a ball with the palm of the hand. In 1861, before becoming president, Abraham Lincoln played handball in a vacant street lot near his law office. El circulo handball uses the skills of serving, volleying, smashing, and the forehand stroke to hit a tennis ball into a circular area. Partners volley the tennis ball until one student makes it impossible for the other to return the ball.

➜ Activity Area

➜ Equipment

Measuring tape, string, chalk, handballs or tennis balls

➜ Teaching Process

1. Partners use a measuring tape, string, and chalk to create a two-circle court with a center line located between the two circles.

2. Play begins with two students standing on opposite sides of the center line and positioned outside the circle on their side of the court—that is, student 1 stands behind circle 1, and student 2 stands behind circle 2.

3. The serving student must use an underhand serve to put the tennis ball in play.

4. When student 1 serves the ball, the ball must first bounce inside circle 2. If student 1 serves the ball and it lands inside circle 2, then student 2 must hit the ball back so it first bounces inside circle 1. The players continue to hit the ball into the opposing player's circle. When a player fails to hit the ball so it bounces first in the other's circle the play ends and it's the other player's turn to serve.

5. A student earns a point only during the play following his own serve.

6. Neither student may cross the center line to return the ball.

7. The player's service ends after 5 serves.

8. The students must agree whether the game is to be won by the first player to reach 10, 15, or 20 points.

9. Extension: In partner el circulo handball, two teams play, each with two partners. Only one player on each team can be outside the circle at a time. The players on each team rotate in and out of the circle; the student hitting the ball must move inside the circle, and the other student moves outside the circle to make the next hit.


Ask the students whether they were able to maintain their effort throughout the game or whether they allowed the other player or team to defeat them easily.

Scottish Clock Golf


Origin and Purpose

It is generally recognized that golf had its beginnings in Scotland, where shepherds hit round stones with long knotted sticks. The Scottish word goulf means to strike, and divot refers to a piece of turf. Mary, Queen of Scots, was said to be the first woman to play the game. In clock golf, students use a putting stroke similar to that in present-day golf and strive to complete a 12-hole course with the least number of putts while demonstrating patience during the wait for their next turn. With this game, minimal equipment is required to bring golf—a sport usually associated with lavish greens and ample space—to a city school.

Activity Area


Four to six putter irons, four to six golf balls, 12 markers, one tin container (e.g., an empty coffee can), pencil and paper for keeping score

Teaching Process

1. To design the clock golf course, place 12 markers at equal distances from each other in a path forming the circumference of a complete circle that has a radius of 24 feet (7.3 m). Number each marker as for a clock, 1 through 12. Place one tin container in the middle of the circle (24 feet from each marker).

2. Students should be given instructions regarding the proper grip for the golf club. The interlocking grip is a basic grip style in which the little finger (pinkie) of one hand (the right hand for a right-handed player) is hooked around or overlaps the index finger of the other hand. This is similar to shaking hands with the club. The palms face each other. The grip should be firm but not tight, and very little or no body movement should occur with putting.

3. Students practice several times and observe each other's putting grip for accuracy. The ball must be struck with the head of the putter, never pushed.

4. Students start from any numbered marker on the circumference of the circle and attempt to score a hole in one (i.e., get the ball into the tin cup). As many as six students at a time can be at each marker. These six students can also work with partners so that a total of 12 students can play at each clock diagram. As one student putts, the partner can keep score. A student must “hole out” (i.e., get the ball into the cup) from each marker before moving on to the next marker.

5. Scores are recorded on a sheet of paper identifying each hole and the number of shots it took for players to hole out.

6. If more than one student is playing from the same marker, they should alternate turns.

7. Field hockey sticks and balls may be substituted if golf equipment is not available. Multiple clocks can be created for greater participation.

8. The object is to be the player with the lowest score after the completion of all 12 holes.


Ask the students if they demonstrated patience while completing their strokes and waiting their turn.

Learn more about Urban Physical Education.

More Excerpts From Urban Physical Education



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