Spatial Requirements: Gym/outdoor space required
Activity Type: Movement/group
Grades: 5-12
Group Size: 2 or more
Time: 30 minutes

Introduction: As a pair works together to launch their ball high into the air, they must communicate effectively as a team to discover the best technique for the highest takeoff. They will work at problem solving and understand that it may take several tries to accomplish their goals.


  • One towel or pillowcase for each pair
  • One small ball for each pair (soft, bouncy balls are best, such as Nerf balls or tennis balls)


This activity requires high ceilings and space to move. Outdoors is recommended.  

Divide students into pairs. Have them find a space that gives them some distance between them and the other pairs. Hand each pair a towel or pillowcase and a small ball. Each student is to hold the two ends of their towel or pillowcase to launch their ball into the air. Inform the students that their goal is to see how high they can send their ball into the air without using their hands. The pair that launches their ball the highest is the winner.  The launch does not count if they do not catch the ball with their towel or pillowcase.

Note: You may choose to demonstrate this activity to get them started. As a pair, hold onto the corners of each end of the towel or pillowcase. Place the ball on the center of the towel. Hold the towel loosely so that the ball is lower than all four corners of the towel. When you are both ready, pull back on the corners to pull the towel taut. The ball will go flying into the air.

Allow students to practice and strategize before beginning the challenge.

Note: To add an extra element of excitement to this activity, you can use water balloons instead of balls!

Processing the Experience:

  • What types of techniques did you find most effective? How did you figure out your technique?
  • How did it feel when you sent the ball high into the air?
  • How did you and your partner work together as a team?
  • What would have happened if you dropped your side of the towel?
  • Did having someone depend on you make you work harder? Why or why not?
  • How is this like Relational Resilience?
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