Learning Plans & Activities
Health and Basketball
Curriculum Connection: basketball

In this lesson, students will use Games of Deception by Andrew Maraniss (Philomel Books 2019) as a mentor text to explore the history and health benefits of basketball. James Naismith invented basketball to improve the health of students during winter months. Students will play the game as he originally outlined, a game by early women's basketball rules, and a game by modern rules to determine which is healthier. Students will also create a timeline of Olympic basketball and the growth of basketball as a sport.


Health/Physical Education




Health/Physical Education teachers


Students will evaluate their own health benefits from participating in sports.

Students will reflect on the role of Olympic and professional sports in popularizing a sport.


Class copies of Games of Deception by Andrew Maraniss (Philomel Books 2019)

Internet access

Exercise tracker/heart rate monitor


One week


AASL National School Library Standards

B.I.1. Using evidence to investigate questions.

D.I.3. Enacting new understanding through real-world connections.

D.VI.1. Personalizing their use of information and information technologies.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.3 Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.8 Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.

Instructional Procedure

Day 1:

Begin by reading Chapters 3-4 of Games of Deception together.

Project the original rules of basketball on the screen, "Dr. James Naismith's Original 13 Rules of Basketball" (www.usab.com/history/dr-james-naismiths-original-13-rules-of-basketball.aspx).

Have students cooperate on making a list of the differences between the original rules and the rules they currently play by.

Project the summary of early basketball rules for women (fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/w_basketball_RB/2009/Rules.pdf), adding a column on the chart above for similarities and differences.

Day 2:

Instruct students in the use of exercise trackers. Divide students into teams to play one game by the original rules and one game by the modern rules. Depending on the size of a class, have at least one group play by the women's rules. Have students record the information from their trackers and their personal impressions of their exertion. Students will write an exit ticket on which version of the game is better exercise.

Day 3:

Discuss the results of their experiment with the different versions of basketball.

Read Chapter 5 together. Discuss how information spread in the late-19th and early-20th centuries and how it is spread today. Assign small groups to research how and when other sports (including women's sports) have been added to the Olympics and how it affected its popularity. Each group should create a visual timeline of a sport—invention, added to Olympics, popularity.

Day 4:

Gallery walk of sports and whole class discussion of what sports need to have to be successful.

Have small groups create a new sport, with Naismith's goals as guidelines.

Day 5:

Class will vote on which new sport to attempt to play. After playing the new sport while wearing trackers, they will assess its possible popularity and health benefits through individual written reports.


Teams can be created in "competitive" and "recreation" leagues for different skill levels.

Research groups should be balanced to support lower-level readers and second language learners.


Students will be assessed on their reflections on the games they played, their exit tickets, contributions to the group projects, and their final reflection on the class-created game.

Additional Resources

Get more ideas for teaching with this book in our "Curriculum Connections for Games of Deception."

About the Author

Suzanne Libra is a teacher librarian at Silver Hills Middle School in Westminster, Colorado.

MLA Citation Libra, Suzanne. "Health and Basketball." School Library Connection, October 2019, schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2230284?childId=2230294&topicCenterId=1955265&tab=1.

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Entry ID: 2230294

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