What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
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James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, was born in 1861.
|Grades||5 – 8|
|Calendar Activity Type||Historical Figure & Event|
Dr. James Naismith, athletic director of the YMCA in Springfield, MA, had a problem- the cold winters kept everyone indoors. So in 1891, he invented the game of basketball. Players had to throw a soccer ball into a peach basket resting on top of a ten-foot pole. The sport quickly grew in popularity, though amazingly, it took more than ten years for someone to come up with the brilliant idea of cutting a hole in the bottom of the peach baskets!
Looking at the rules of a game allows for a perfect opportunity for students to practice their expository reading and writing skills.
Print out copies of Naismith's original 13 rules for basketball. Put students into groups (since some students know a lot about basketball and some very little) and ask them to read the original rules and to identify-with different colored highlighters-the rules that are still in effect today and the rules that have been changed or eliminated. Then, ask students to write one rule that has been added to the original list and another rule that has been changed dramatically from the original source. Have students present these new and modified rules to the class.
Working individually, students should brainstorm a list of sports and games that they know well. Have students select one from their list and write ten rules for playing that sport or game. Remind students that their audience is people who have never played or heard of that sport or game before. In addition to the ten rules, students should also identify the equipment and time needed to play. Afterward, students should read each other's lists to be sure that all necessary rules are included.
- History of Basketball
This website includes a biography of Naismith and a section on how the game of basketball has developed over time.
- Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
The official name of the Basketball Hall of Fame honors Naismith for his invention of the sport. This website has everything you ever wanted to know about the history and current game of basketball.
- First College Basketball Game
America's Story, from the Library of Congress, provides a readable account for kids about the first college basketball game ever played, as well as Naismith's invention of the game.
Grades 6 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Cooperation and critical thinking are the name of the game as students use baseball facts they find online to create trivia questions for a class Jeopardy game.
Grades 11 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
After reading John Updike's “Ex-Basketball Player,” students write poems describing themselves five years in the future. The teacher takes the poems and mails them to students in five years.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
In this lesson, athletics, aesthetics, and poetics intersect in new ways as developing literacy learners experiment together with the forms of language.