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

Most recently taught: January 2020


Key Concept: Connections

Related Concepts: Refinement, Movement

Statement of Inquiry: Refining movements will limit risk and create connections to success.

Global Context: Scientific and Technical Innovation (risk)

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. 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 spend time researching the key points for different skills (underhand serve, overhead pass, underhand pass) and create a visual with this information. 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 strategical decisions.

Learning Experiences

Spikeball rules and basics

Spikeball passing practice

Spikeball strategies and gameplay

Volleyball skill research

Volleyball isolated skills practice and modified gameplay

Volleyball 1 point rubric creation (teacher, then small group, then individual for summative)

Volleyball gameplay and teacher pocket assessment

Class Tournaments

Formative Assessments

Teacher introduction of key points for performing the various skills. Observation and individual discussions to correct misconceptions.

Class discussions on the key points for skills throughout the unit.

Skill rubric creation as a class and peer assessment. A week later small groups will create a skill rubric.

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

This will be assessed in two parts, the first part done halfway through the unit, and the second part done towards the end.

First students will create a 1 point rubric on volleyball skill of their choosing. They must include 3/4/5 key points from the skill that should be performed to do the skill technique correctly. This will then be assessed for Criterion C.

The second part has students creating skill cards for the 4 main skills we learned in the unit. These are underhand pass, overhead pass, underhand serve, and spiking the ball. Students can display this information through google docs, Canva, video, or another way but should include the following information: Main key points for each skill, the purpose of the skill, and risks involved when it is performed (ie: underhand serve is more accurate but easier to return than overhand serve)

Criterion C: Applying and performing

Students will perform the skill they chose to create a 1 point rubric about in Criterion A.

Students will be assessed on their underhand pass, overhead pass, underhand serve techniques, and strategical decisions while they play volleyball games and in a class tournament. The teacher will have a pocket assessment to tick skills that students have done well and when they show proper communication and understanding of the rules/strategy. This will take place over 2-3 classes of gameplay.

ATL’s focused on in this unit

Research - Access information to be informed and inform others

In order for students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding (Criteria A):  students will access information to be informed and inform others by creating a booklet going into detail on the main skills of volleyball. They will cite information that informed the creation and target a specific audience with their information.

The strategy that will be explicitly taught is:

-Access information to be informed: using the internet to seek out what experts say about the main key points of each skill technique and correctly citing information they use in their own report.

-Inform others: focus on including concise information, letting their audience know the main key points, the risks, and situations of when you perform the skill.

Self-management - Focus on the process of creating by imitating the work of others

In order for students to demonstrate apply and perform skills (Criteria C):  students will focus on the process of creating by imitating the work of others by performing skill techniques in volleyball based on teacher demonstration, instructional videos, and watching their peers.

The strategy that will be explicitly taught is:

-Focus on the process of creating: practicing the skills they will perform and getting comfortable with them. Understanding they must break down the skill to create a successful final technique.

-Imitating the work of others: using videos to compare themselves with, peer reflection, and following the teacher or partner as they breakdown the skill.

Thinking - Identify obstacles and challenges

Day to Day Connections: Identifying the challenges students faced each lesson through a partner, small group and class discussion. Strategies will be identified for students to attempt during skill-building activities and gameplay. The obstacles that occur when you try and use more power, vs when you try to be more accurate.

Summative Connection: For Criterion A assessment students will need to identify the challenges that can occur when performing different shot techniques.

Social - Make fair and equitable decisions

Day to Day Connections: Making fair officiating decisions when playing vs opposing Spikeball pairing. When completing peer assessing tasks giving fair and equitable feedback.

Summative Connection: During the gameplay when the teacher is assessing Criteria C skills, students are ensuring everyone plays the correct positions and allows teammates opportunities to succeed.

Teacher 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.

Having students create their own rubric for a skill (Crit A) increased their focus on using proper technique and the ability to give meaningful peer reflection to a partner.

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.

The pocket assessment was an easy and effective way to assess the student’s abilities in relation to Criterion C. The students were able to focus on playing and having fun rather than feeling the pressure of being individually watched.

Seeing the physical skill growth that occurred over this unit was amazing to experience! What started with students barely able to get the ball over the net, ended with students trying different strategies and communicating throughout.

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