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Learning And Fun In A Gaga Ball Pit

The 8th grade students playing a Gaga Ball game during the lunch recess.

The 8th grade students playing a Gaga Ball game during the lunch recess.

In the Estes Park High School class Advanced Math for Business class 12 students, (Juniors & Seniors) have been exploring the process of starting and managing a business. During the past five weeks the Math for Business class has been building a fun and exciting new activity/sport that the middle school students are now enjoying at recess. The project assigned to the students involved what it would take to start a business of constructing “Gaga ball pits.”

What is a Gaga ball pit you ask? That is also what the EPHS students asked until they were introduced to one up at Covenant Heights Conference Center. After other students first played Gaga ball on a Outdoor Adventure Club outing the idea of having a play pit at the middle school was born. Gaga ball is a game where you and a group of friends enter into a “pit” that has eight three foot high walls. When the game begins participants hit a ball with their hands trying to strike an opponent’s legs thus knocking them out of that round of play. Gaga ball pits are showing up at camps, schools, parks, sports centers, retreat centers, and even back yards.

Initial inquiries provided donated lumber and hardware materials from Estes Park Lumber Company and approval from the school district building and grounds department. The construction project was adopted by the Advanced Math for Business Class. During class the students learned how to simulate the development of a small business. Using small business administration guidelines the students researched how to license, staff, insure and operate a startup business. The final project was to actually construct a Gaga ball pit for the middle school.

Class instructor, Steve Johnson followed up with approvals and the generous donation of materials from Estes Park Lumber Company. The tools were borrowed from the high school and school staff. The middle school provided a useful location to place the pit. With some help from Building and grounds director Dave Coleson, the class was able to figure out where to place the pit so it would not interfere with below ground utilizes. The spring snows delayed some of the construction however this past week the pit has been a very busy place.

When Karen Garcia, (senior at Estes Park High School), was asked why she enjoyed building the Gaga ball pit her response was, “Because it was something new in the town of Estes and I’m sure it will be popular.” When introduced to the students at Estes Park Middle School it became an instant lunch time recess favorite play area. Thanks to the support and assistance from local businesses and the school staff; this project has provided a learning experience for the class and a fun new activity for middle school students.


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