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Ready, Set, Spike! - A Net/Wall Games Unit

Most recently taught: October 2023

Teachers Pay Teachers link for the unit task sheets (Formative and Summative)


Key Concept: Relationships

Related Concepts: Refinement, Movement

Statement of Inquiry: A relationship between movement and refinement takes practice.

Global Context: Personal and Cultural Expression (practice)

Learner Profile: Risk-taker (emphasizing the global context, students will be encouraged to go outside of their comfort zone, trying different techniques and strategies.

Unit Outline


This unit we will learn the skills and strategies necessary to find success in net/wall games. We will start by learning the game of Spikeball, before moving on to Volleyball and finishing with Tennis. Each lesson will include warm-up games, skill-building, and transferring these skills into modified games or full games. As the unit progresses students will reflect on their skills, physical and interpersonal, and demonstrate their understanding of the rules by officiating/playing in matches. The last week of the unit will have the students split into teams, playing a tournament and allowing the teacher to observe their skills and strategic decisions and students to demonstrate their knowledge of Tennis by officiating matches.

Learning Experiences

Spikeball (Lessons 1 - 2)

    - Spikeball rules and basics

    - Spikeball passing practice

    - Spikeball strategies and gameplay

Volleyball (Lessons 3 - 6)

    - Volleyball skill research and goal-setting

    - Volleyball isolated skills practice and modified gameplay

    - Volleyball gameplay

Tennis (Lessons 7 - 12)

    - Tennis rules and skill challenges

    - Mini-tennis games

    - Doubles class tournament with students officiating Tennis

Formative Assessments

Class discussions on the key points for skills throughout the unit and how they are using interpersonal skills to compete and play effectively. (Crit. D) They will also reflect on their teams/individual strategies they planned to help find success in the tournaments and evaluate their strengths and areas of improvement.

Students will officiate volleyball games, using their knowledge of the rules to make necessary decisions. After gameplay and officiating students will explain common rules they enforced, and spotlight students who demonstrated strong skills, explaining why. (Crit. A)

Starting each class with student choice time with the equipment to allow the teacher to observe which skills need greater focus.

Summative Assessment

Criterion A: Knowing and understanding

Students will explain their knowledge of tennis by completing prompts, and questions, relating to their experiences when playing in, and officiating the tennis matches. They will analyze strategic decisions they made when playing with their partner.

Throughout the responses, students should use the key terminology that has been explored in the unit. (ie. 15-love vs. 1-0)

Criterion D: Reflecting and improving performance

Building on their formative reflections on interpersonal skills, students will describe how they used these skills to be effective officials, and play with a partner. 

Students will finish off Criterion D by summarizing their performance in this unit, recognizing their personal successes, and enjoyments they experienced.

ATL’s focused on in this unit

Thinking - Identify obstacles and challenges

In order for students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding (Criteria A):  students will identify obstacles and challenges by explaining their decision-making when officiating games and playing matches. They will cite rules they found easy to follow, and tough decisions they needed to make, physically, strategically, and socially.

The strategy that will be explicitly taught is:

-identify obstacles: students will look at how they can be better officials, through research and discussions, and how they can set themselves up for success when participating.

-identify challenges: students will have choice time to work on challenging skills, and identify strategies to help their team succeed.

Social - Make fair and equitable decisions

Day to Day Connections: Making fair officiating decisions when playing in games and when officiating Tennis and Volleyball. When completing peer assessing tasks giving fair and equitable feedback.

Summative Connection: Students will be asked to officiate without constant teacher supervision during our tennis tournament. Students must find ways to be trustworthy officials for both teams.

Teacher Reflection

(January 20th, 2020 Reflection)

Having soft volleyballs is vital! Especially to those who are learning the game for the first time. Our resources involved about half, soft and new volleyballs, and half older and harder volleyballs. The students had a tough time dealing with striking the harder volleyballs, while the softer ones allowed students to be more of a risk-taker and willing to take a chance striking in the game situations.

Spikeball took some time for students to get excited about and understand the connection with other striking games but was a regular recess activity they were playing by the end of the unit.

Tennis was a highly requested sport and students enjoyed trying out the sport, finding success in mini-challenges moreso than in full games. I would look to get softer tennis balls for next time.

Ready, Set, Spike.png

Thoughts, questions, concerns? Let me know on twitter @tannernickel, I am always looking for ideas and ways to improve my inquiry teaching.

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