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Gaga Ball Grant Promotes Cross Curriculum Learning at HHI School for Creative Arts

Students at Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts are going “Gaga for Fitness” thanks to a grant from the Foundation funded in part by the Italian American Club of Hilton Head Island and the creativity of their teachers - Jennifer Friend-Kerr (STEAM teacher) and Matt Bauman (P.E. teacher).


Jennifer Friend-Kerr (STEAM teacher) and Matt Bauman (P.E. teacher)
Jennifer Friend-Kerr (STEAM teacher) and Matt Bauman (P.E. teacher)

This cross-curriculum project was able to impact over 500 students in grades first through fifth at the elementary school. The students applied knowledge of science, reading, math and physical education skills during this fun-filled and innovative experience.


To start off, the students researched the history of Gaga ball and learned about the country where it originated - Israel. They also read the book, “How to Play Gaga Ball” by Alexander Kazachki as an introductory lesson to the rules of the sport.


Students Playing Gaga Ball
Students Playing Gaga Ball

After identifying the Gaga ball pit as an octagon, the classes also discussed the scientific concepts involved in playing Gaga ball. Through playing the game, students learned firsthand, the idea of force, friction, push vs. pull, and use of angles (obtuse) when strategizing to win or eliminate players. They also experienced how energy is transferred from the body to the ball helping the ball to accelerate in the game. The students participated in the game in designated areas of the gym and applied the rules and concepts learned through research.


Following the initial class meeting, students made videos instructing other students how to play the game and included helpful strategies to be an effective competitor in the game of Gaga ball.


In the classroom, students also used Keva Planks and Legos to create miniature Gaga ball pits, measuring the area and perimeter of the structures built.


As the South Carolina Career and College Ready Standards promote, learning needs to be real world, authentic, and collaborative. This project developed intercommunication and engineering skills that can be used by the students as they pursue their future career paths.


Students Playing Gaga Ball
Students Playing Gaga Ball

Students were also able to develop various critical skills through this project including: communication, collaboration, and inquiry skills when planning and designing. In addition, they developed and enhanced: critical thinking, public speaking, technology skills, physical fitness, and researching skills.


At the end of the grant, students took a post assessment to measure what they learned prior to the implementation of the grant. Ninety percent of the students got an 80% or above!


The Gaga ball pit funded by the Foundation’s grant along with the generous support of

the Italian American Club of Hilton Head Island will bring many years of joy,

competition and learning to the students at Hilton Head Island School for the Creative

Arts. Truly a valuable investment in the future of the school!


A video of the students playing Gaga ball:



 

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