Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Where Are the Boundaries?

Mark Gough
Santa Rosa District Schools


This lesson is an activity-based way to introduce the concept of boundaries. The students participate in short discussions and play games that allow them to explore the importance of boundaries and be active at the same time.


The student understands that games consist of people, boundaries, equipment, purpose, and rules which all interrelate during game play.


-Activity field or large activity room
-30 to 50 cones or domes
-Flag football flags (enough for each student)
-Whistle or other device to signal stop
-Boundary Checklist (See Associated File)


1. Prepare the activity area by marking off a large square boundary area with cones or domes.
2. Make a copy of the Boundary Checklist for teacher’s use. (See Associated File)
3. Practice the stop signal with the students.
4. Take the flags to the activity area.


Note: This lesson introduces/reviews and assesses the understanding of boundaries. This lesson was developed for middle-school aged trainable mentally handicapped students, although this lesson also works well with early-elementary aged non-handicapped students.

1. Walk the students to the activity area and tell them to go any direction until you signal them to stop.

2. Now tell the students that you are going to start the warm-up activity (exercises, stretching, etc.). Make sure to face only one direction and begin giving directions. As the students begin to ask questions about what was being said or what they needed do, bring them together and introduce the concept of boundaries.

3. Ask the students what they know about boundaries. Encourage the students to discuss several questions: What is a boundary? What is a boundary like? Where are some places we find boundaries? Why are boundaries important? Why do we have boundaries? (Refer to the disorganized warm-up)

4. Begin using the Boundary Checklist (See Associated File) as students participate in the discussion and demonstrate their knowledge of boundaries.

5. Direct the students to the large square on the activity field/activity room outlined with cones or domes. Discuss with the students that the cones/domes represent the boundary. The boundary is a line, marked or imaginary, that lets you know where you can go and where you can’t go.

6. Have the students run around the boundary markers. After all of the students run around the boundary, tell them that is the boundary for the next activity. Have one student stand inside the boundary area (large square) and one student stand outside of the boundary area. Ask the other students where they think the activity will take place. This is a good time to check for understanding. Provide corrective feedback as needed.

7. Group all of the students in the middle of the boundary area. Direct the students’ attention to the domes or cones that outline the boundary area. Tell the students, when told to go, they will begin running inside the square. Tell the students to stop, wherever they are, when they hear the stop signal. Now yell “go!”

8. As you notice a few students drifting out of bounds give the stop signal. Ask the students to look and see if they are in or out of bounds. Have the students that are out-of-bounds raise their hands. Review the concept of boundaries and where the students are supposed to stay during the activity.

9. Repeat and ask the students that are in bounds to raise their hands.

10. Repeat and ask the students that are out-of-bounds to raise their hands.

11. Stop the activity and tell the students that they are going to play Monkey Tails. Monkey Tails is a tag game and boundaries are very important. Ask the students what would happen if they were playing a tag game and there were no boundaries. (Possible responses: “game would get too big,” “people would go everywhere,” “the game would be disorganized,” etc.)

12. Give all of the students a flag, except one or two, and tell them to tuck the flag into the back of their pants. (Demonstrate)

13. Tell all of the students with flags that they are the monkeys. Tell the students without the flags that they are the zookeepers. Move the monkeys to one corner of the square and the zookeeper(s) to another corner. Instruct the students that the monkeys are to try to stay away from the zookeeper but inside the zoo or boundary area. The zookeeper is going to chase the monkeys and try to grab their tails (flag). When a monkey loses its tail, he or she stands by the teacher.

14. Give the stop signal when a student(s) goes out-of-bounds. Ask the students why they think the activity was stopped. Discuss with the students about why it is important to stay in bounds.

15. Change zookeepers after three or four students (monkeys) have lost their tails to minimize the amount of time students stand around.

16. As the students play Monkey Tails, mark the Boundary Checklist (See Associated File) as students demonstrate their ability to stay in bounds.

17.Conclude with a review of what is a boundary, places we find boundaries, and why boundaries are important.


NOTE: This lesson only addresses boundaries.
Use the Boundary Checklist (See Associated File) to assess each student’s understanding of boundaries. This is a formative assessment that should be used to provide additional feedback and practice to students who consistently do not succeed.


1. As the students begin to demonstrate the ability to stay within a well-marked boundary area, reduce the number of cones or domes marking the boundary.
2. Have the students set up a boundary area and explain what is in bounds and out-of-bounds.
3. Ask students about boundaries in other activities or areas. Example: Why is a ball fair or foul in baseball? Is the end zone a boundary on a football field? Is a crosswalk a boundary?

1. Allow slower students (in wheelchairs, on crutches, with cerebral palsy, etc.) to have more than one tail. Tell the students (zookeepers) that they are not allowed to grab all of the student’s (monkey’s) tails at one time.
2. Allow students with physical disabilities to use some type of extension of their arm to tag students.

Attached Files

This file contains the Boundary Checklist.     File Extension: pdf

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