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Brief Description

Students improve basic language and math skills while learning some facts about football and famous players.



  • learn to conduct a survey and create a graph.
  • learn to construct a glossary.
  • work cooperatively with a small group to complete a task.
  • learn some facts about the National Football League and how players are accepted into it.
  • learn basic football facts, game terms, equipment names, and tips for choosing appropriate gear.
  • arrange items in alphabetical order.
  • recognize compound words and opposites in everyday reading material.
  • construct a time line with given information.
  • predict the current players who might become future football greats and explain reasons for choosing them.

Key Concepts

National Football League, NFL, football, Football Hall of Fame

Materials Needed



  • computer(s) with Internet access (for some activities)
  • These sites are necessary for some activities:
National Football League,
Kids Play,
Football Hall of Fame
  • ten different colors of copy paper, white oak tag, or heavy cardstock
  • brown construction paper
  • handwriting paper
  • colored index cards or sentence strips
  • empty thread spools(optional)
  • a paper punch and brass fasteners (optional)
  • football equipment or pictures of equipment
  • video clips of games from television home videos or the Internet
  • graphing software or graph paper

Lesson Plan

Activities for Grades 2 and 3
Help students master unscrambling words by displaying football-related words on a bulletin board. The teacher needs to prepare the words ahead of time. Use a computer to type each word four times in large print (about 72-point font) on one sheet of paper. Then copy each word sheet onto a different-colored sheet of paper. Cut the papers into strips and instruct students to partner up and take one strip of each color; that will give each group one copy of each word. Then students cut the letters apart and refer to the bulletin board to put them back together. Store the letters in small plastic bags that zip at the top until the next time you might use them.

Place compound words on construction-paper footballs and cut between the words so students can see the small words before assembling them. (Words: football, backfield, touchdown, kickoff, quarterback, handoff, pitchout)

Let students view video clips of a favorite team to see opposites in action: for example, offense and defense or forward line and backfield. Encourage students to find opposites in other sports.

Bring in the equipment a football player needs to wear for a game. Label each item with an easily readable tag. Ask students to sequence the equipment items in ABC order. Then students might copy the list of equipment onto pages for a catalog and illustrate the catalog.

Students survey their classmates about their favorite teams, game snacks, team colors, or players. Then they can create a picture graph of their survey results, using poster-board football players. They might even mount those poster-board players on straws and insert the straws into empty thread spools so the players stand up. A visual graph such as this makes seeing which team, snack, etc. is the favorite.

Activity for Grades 2 through 5
FOOTBALL GLOSSARY Have students make a glossary of unfamiliar words they hear in connection with football: for example, bomb, blitz, safety, interception, penalty, punt, squad, goal, gridiron, hike, huddle, block, tackle, stiff-arm, pass, fake, fumble, good hands, pitchout, handoff, officials. Each student should choose a word, research its connection to the game, and write an easily understood explanation. Have students illustrate their definitions, and bind into a glossary.

Activities for Grades 4 and 5
Students go to the NFL and Hall of Fame Web sites to do some background research before choosing players they think might make it into the Hall of Fame. Each student should prepare a player profile on chart paper or a computer and give the reasons for his or her choice.

Students go to the Football Hall of Fame Web site and research its history before constructing a time line showing the main events in the history of the Hall of Fame. Students can make their time lines on a computer, colored index cards, or colored sentence strips. Connect the strips by punching a hole on each side of the strips and fastening them together with brass fasteners.

Activity Time



Students will be assessed during group activities on cooperative efforts as well as accuracy of completed products. Students will be assessed on prediction and probability activities based on their papers or computer presentations and reasons given for their choices. Students will be evaluated on graphing, time lines, and glossaries by observing the finished products.


Lesson Plan Source


VaReane Heese, ([email protected]) Springfield Elementary School, Omaha, Nebraska

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