Shark Tank, Treasure Hunt

This game is a bigger and better version of the playground classic “Sharks and Minnows”.

I was subbing as the P.E. Teacher at Lin Howe Elementary the other day. The game “Shark Tank” was planned by the regular teacher and a nice diagram was drawn to illustrate it. I had never heard of the game Shark Tank before but the diagram showed a large circle in the middle of the playing field that served as the tank. I asked Coach Doug what the purpose of the tank was and figured out that there was no real purpose for it. In other words, this was about to be a big field game of Sharks and Minnows. I thought about adding something to the tank area that gave it a reason for being there. We spread out a bucketful of bean bags within the tank boundary and told the minnows that in addition to getting safely to the other side they needed to pick up one, and only one, tresaure from the tank. That day, we had 100% participation from the students which is a rare occurrence.

Special thanks to Coach Doug and Coach “G” for helping make this game come to life and for working out the bugs in the game until the rules made sense. 

Area: Soccer field or half football field

Number of Participants: 50 – 100 participants; 3 referees.

Materials: Three long ropes tied together to make one large circle; about 15 large pylons (two colors) to delineate the playing boundary and the shark tank; about 50 bean bags; field whistle.

Set-up: Tie three ropes together and lay it in a circle out in the middle of the field that is desginated as the shark tank. Stretch the rope with 4 – 6 cones of one color (we used blue) so there is a clear boundary. Arrange other cones around field boundary. Choose 3 – 7 participants to be “sharks” who will do the chasing and have them stand in the tank area at the beginning of each round. All other participants go to one end of the field to start off as a group of “minnows”. Designate one referee in the center to organize the sharks; one referee stays on one end of the field and the third referee goes to the other end of the field fo start the minnows during each round. All referees watch for fair play.

How To Play: When the referee blows the whistle, the round begins. Minnows try to get to the other end of the field without being tagged by the sharks. If they get tagged, they must freeze where they are, even if they have a bean bag treasure. Minnows may choose to go into the shark tank and steal one of the bean bags (treasures) and make it to the other side. They may only steal one treasure each round. If more than one treasure is taken by any one minnow during a round, all minnows forfeit their treasures for that round and they are re-dispersed in the shark tank area.

Minnows who successfully make it to the other side without being tagged, whether or not they’ve picked up a bean bag treasure, are safe for that round and live to see another round. All the minnows who were tagged during the round are called in to the shark tank (I like to call out “Shark Swarm! Shark Swarm! and clap whie motioning all sharks and tagged minnows to the center for a huddle). That’s where the shark swarm gets a chance to plan their strategy for the next round. At this time also the minnows can plan their strategy to outwit the sharks. When referees see that both the sharks and minnows are ready to begin again, they blow the whistle to signal the start of the next round.

Play continues, round after round until either all the treasures are taken (minnows win) or five minnows are left (sharks win). Once a winning team is determined, the last five minnows can choose to be the next sharks or they can choose a person to replace them.

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