Stack Up Education and Health With In-Class Physical Activity: Speed Cup Stacking

March 02, 2012 | Written By:

By Brittany Wright, HSC media and outreach specialist


Educators continue to find that students benefit from in-class opportunities to move. Physical activity improves cognitive, emotional and physical health. They are also a key part of a classroom culture that promotes wellness. A fun and easy way to incorporate movement is sport stacking!


Last year, I got a chance to learn about this sport at a Fit to Learn booster session. The session focused on the importance of physical activity and introduced sports stacking as one of many exercises to do with students.

In addition to connecting education and health, sport stacking or speed cup stacking is a fun way to improve hand-eye coordination and motor skills. This sport challenges participants to stack cups in pyramid sequences in the shortest amount of time. Speed cup stacking started in the early 1980s and has experienced continued popularity growth. Co-founder Bob Fox describes the activity as “a track meet for your hands!”

During the booster session, facilitator Amy Christiansen discussed how popular and easy this activity was in her classroom. Teachers even got a chance to play the sport and learn techniques to take back to their classrooms.

I have to admit, I started sweating at the sight of the group cup stacking! I was blow way by how much  fun I had and how energizing it is when I got a chance to try it myself.

Amy Christiansen (center) practices sports stacking with Fit to Learn teachers 

One reason speed stacking is a great activity for the classroom is because all you need is a flat surface and cups! Check out this introductory video by the World Sports Stacking Association. For more information about sports stacking, click here.

Fun Fact: The sport gained national prominence when it was featured on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” in 1990!

Plus, check out more fun activity ideas from Go for the Gold, a partnership of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Healthy Schools Campaign to support schools in meeting high standards for food, fitness and nutrition education. Check out the new free online resource center for more ideas to incorporate physical activity in the classroom. 

Teachers, have you tried speed cup stacking with your classroom? How was your experience?

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