Quidditch and physical education

  October 1, 2003 at 3:09 PM ET
  Geri     The Leaky Cauldron (via Boston Globe)

The world of Harry Potter, credited with inspiring millions of children to read, is now being used to get students excited about physical educationopens in new window. Justin vanGelderh, a first-year gym teacher at Horace W. Porter School in Connecticut, is among those across the country incorporating the game "quidditch" into their curriculum.

Determined third graders with foam bats stand guard as "chasers" charge toward the hoops with foam balls in hand, trying to avoid being tagged out by the "bludgers" -- students holding yarn balls -- before they can score. Every few minutes, vanGelderh will throw out his own version of the "golden snitch" -- a small bouncy rubber ball.

But Jared Hickey, 8, thinks improvements can be made.

"I just wish they had strings on the roof to make the brooms fly," he said, pointing with a frown to the tall ceiling.

The game also meets the standards of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education opens in new windowthat provides guidelines for teachers across the country to follow.

Neil F. Williams, professor in the Department of Health and Physical Education at Eastern Connecticut State University said:

"Something like quidditch works because it takes the focus of a one-ball game off of the students who are weaker. It gives every student an opportunity. As long as safety elements are observed, it's as good as it can get."


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