It’s a Mystery – Higher Order Thinking & Creativity in PE

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What did you get? ….Ok …Now make a game using that equipment…

Well If you’re unfamiliar with the TV Show ‘Masterchef’, then you may not be aware of the idea of the mystery box challenge.  Essentially in this challenge contestants are given a random collection of ingredients of which they need to utilise in their cooking. Creativity then takes hold and people mix these recipes into impressive meals.

With this in mind earlier this year Brendan Jones at blogged about how he had utilised a mystery box challenge concept within his practical PE classroom. I simply loved the idea and it played nicely into an activity I complete regularly with my older students. So thought I would take the concept, blend in some of my favourite mobile apps and turn it into an assessment activity. Here’s how it worked;

1. As my Year 9/10 students entered the PE Classroom they scanned a QR Code that linked them to

2. When accessed this link randomly selects a collection of typical sports equipment; hit refresh and you get something else.  I also gave them a game type such as Invasion, Net Wall, Target or Striking games to frame their creation.

3. Once they had received their random equipment they had 5 minutes to work in a group of 3 or 4 to creatively piece together a minor game that used the equipment they randomly received as a basis

4. They then had to draft the rules, and explain exactly how it would work within the app ‘CoachNote‘. This incredibly simple app is essentially a whiteboard on steroids, with the ability to draw over sports fields and easily explain a game with a high level of clarity.  The best feature being the ability to produce video recordings or screencasts of the action & movement on the screen.

5. Once they had completed their screencast they uploaded these to Google Drive and shared with myself, who was assessing them on their ability to infuse an understanding of various thematic game concepts, tactical situations & creativity.

6. The students were then responsible for running their various games for the rest of the class, of which everyone participated

Overall I was blown away by the level of  creativity and the understanding of game concepts that were applied. However most of all, it was an incredibly fun couple of sessions to be part of.  In the future I would love to share the recordings with schools all over the planet to make this a truly global activity.

So how could you encourage students to create their own games? Have you done this before?

9 thoughts on “It’s a Mystery – Higher Order Thinking & Creativity in PE”

  1. it seems interesting and modern… what if we dint have any tool or ipad with us, any suggested alternatives?

  2. Hello Mr. Robinson, my name is Cortnee Meyers. I am an EDM310 student at The University of South Alabama. I am a future physical education teacher and I chose your blog for my weekly assignment. I really like the mystery box game you put together for your students. Any time you can add creativity or change up the way physical education is taught is awesome. I was very inspired by your post and plan to follow you to learn more tools I can use in my gym.
    Thank you,
    Cortnee Meyers

  3. Justin Schleider

    I give them the equipment and certain paramaters. the equipment can be anything. all I say is that at you have to incorporate what skill in the unit we are working on into the game (throwing, kicking, striking, etc.) you don’t need the tech it only makes the lesson better. (for Nico) This is basically a PE makerspace.

  4. Priscilla Herring

    I only have approx. 45 minutes with my classes, how can I fit this into my day and be successful.

  5. Hey Jarrod,

    What did you use to generate random ideas when the students…”hit refresh and you get something else?”

  6. Hey Chris. This was custom coded using some HTML to pick a random text string from a list. If you view source when visiting the web link you will see the exact code

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