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The Go-To Guide for Your Frisbee/Disc Unit in PE

Candid J

Target-based disc (Frisbee) games are great lifetime, recreational activities. From the backyard to any park, picnic, family reunion, or college campus, this simple piece of equipment is versatile and adds great depth to any physical education program. My program uses disc games mostly in the fall and spring both indoors and out. I have a progression of disc-themed activities that are target based and invasion style to maximize the effectiveness of disc games. My focus here is target games.

Target Activities:

Disc Games to Achieve P.E. Standards

These activities and games enhance student learning beyond just playing the game. Many great resources are shared via blogs, webinars and social media. Start with some of these enhancements I have used over the years to enrich a disc golf unit in relation to achieving SHAPE America P.E. Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes (GLOs):

Standard 1: Motor Skills and Movement Patterns

Develop throwing and catching skills

  • QR Codes: Enhance learning with QR codes linked to YouTube “how-to” videos to learn trick shots and catches and to show successful models of how to play a game.
  • Challenge Sheets: Use for tracking progress in mastering trick shots or catches where students level up at their own pace. See the sample provided here.
  • Yard Games: Integrate discs within a yard games unit. My favorites include Disc Bonk and Saucer Slam.
  • Half-Court Style Play: I play “half-court” style where two teams of two students share one Saucer Slam bucket or Disc Bonk pole to allow for more participation and stretch my equipment further. For example, instead of having two games of Saucer Slam and two games of Disc Bonk at four students per game, I now have four games of each and just doubled my playing capacity from 16 to 32 students using “half-court” games.

Standard 2: Concepts & Strategies Related to Movement

Disc golf strategy and shot selection

1-Hole Games: Play “1-hole” disc golf games to help students achieve grade-level outcomes such as:

  • Selects the appropriate shot based on the location of the object in relation to the target (GLO S2.M9.6)
  • Varies the speed, force, and trajectory of the shot based on location of the object in relation to the target (GLO S2.M9.8).

A “1-hole” disc golf game is where a group just plays one hole, repeatedly, from different starting distances. To help them utilize different throws and techniques, show different ways to “putt” the disc (overhand or underhand), and have them try different shots from short- and mid-range. Talk about the impact of wind. Play with a regular frisbee and a disc golf disc. Ask them to compare and contrast and state which they prefer and why.

Standard 3: Achieve Health-Enhancing Levels of Physical Activity

Fitness-style Disc Golf and Pedometers

  • Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA): You can incorporate fitness into any disc activity. Have students complete the activity at a moderate to vigorous pace to achieve MVPA. Having students wear pedometers helps them reflect upon their activity level and understand how they can walk the course at an MVPA pace, enjoy a game, and achieve health benefits. My students wear the FITstep Pro Uploadable Pedometers for this reason.
  • Strength: Students complete specific body-weight exercises (squat, lunge, pushup, plank, etc.) at the end of a hole before starting the next to integrate muscular strength and add more health-related fitness concepts for discussion at the end of the activity. Put exercises on the scorecard for each hole and/or on a sign at the hole.

Standard 4: Personal and Social Responsibility

Accepting Feedback, Rules & Etiquette

  • Feedback: When working on throwing and catching, incorporate partner feedback or video analysis to allow for peer coaching and feedback. Students should learn how to interact, analyze, and provide feedback.
  • Game Play: Playing a disc golf course provides the opportunity to teach rules and etiquette and observe the students’ abilities to demonstrate personal and social responsibility. I put game play reminders/cues on the scorecard. Teams get a pencil, mini clipboard, and scorecard and then play a course. They must work with a team to play a course correctly and turn in a completed scorecard as part of the assignment. Get a sample scorecard here. Success criteria examples:
    • I can use proper course etiquette (wait your turn to throw, etc.).
    • I can work with a team to complete a course and turn in a scorecard.

Standard 5: Activity for Enjoyment, Challenge, Social-Interaction

Social Interaction, Reflection & Design a Course

  • Design a Course: Have students work as a team to create their own disc golf course around the campus, field, or track, and then have them try it out. I provide a map of the available area so students can map out their exact route. Check out my sample design-a-course handout with scorecard here.
  • Personal Challenge: The throwing and catching Challenge Sheet mentioned in Standard 1 is great for students to work on a personal challenge.
  • Reflection: At the end of lessons and especially the unit, I have students reflect on where they could transfer this activity outside of class. Some of these questions also appear on their weekly Activity Log so I know they are reflecting upon activities they enjoy and how to transfer them to their life outside of school.
    • Where could they play disc golf and/or throw discs?
    • Do they need a disc or could they use a different object to play disc golf?
    • Where in our community are local disc golf courses?

Disc Activities Equipment & Modifications:

Use equipment that can be used indoors and out to maximize learning and adjust to weather challenges. I use different sizes and styles of targets (cones, hoops, pop-up stands, etc.) and a variety of discs (regular, foam, golf style, etc.). I modify the size of playing space to provide different challenges regarding strategy and game play, especially among different grade levels.

  • The QuikShot Tour Portable Disc Golf Targets are great disc golf targets. They set up easily and then collapse and slide into a storage bag like a lawn chair. Here’s a Disc Golf Scorecard which includes a pedometer activity time column. I use the FITstep Pro Uploadable Pedometers to teach about how one can accumulate activity time in all types of activities to help achieve an active lifestyle.
  • When fields are too wet or it’s raining, use HoopStandz Hoop Holders with your choice of hula hoop and move your Ultimate Frisbee and disc golf indoors.
  • Add additional challenges and more fun by having students on scooters with a foam frisbee to complete an indoor disc golf course with these hoop targets. My students are able to work on the same learning targets, regardless of weather, for game play. This prepares them for the next lesson where I hope to play a course outside.


  • Jessica Shawley

    Jessica is a Health & Physical Education Teacher in Lewiston, Idaho. She is a SHAPE America National Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year and a National Board Certified Teacher. Jessica is a part of SHAPE America's Physical Education Council and has also served SHAPE Idaho & the Northwest District in several leadership capacities. Her professional engagement also includes providing professional development workshops, writing blogs and podcasting. Jessica is currently teaching high school health and physical education, leading fitness, dance, yoga and weight training classes.

3 Responses

  1. Thank you for the ideas and score cards – I am new to PE and was planning to do disc golf this spring – perfect timing!

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