Physical Education Activities & Curriculum Development

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  • 0:04 Curriculum Development
  • 0:56 Opportunity & Participation
  • 1:23 Geared Toward Development
  • 2:36 Skills to Teach
  • 3:31 Assessment
  • 5:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson, we focus on the key principles to keep in mind when developing a physical education curriculum, including ensuring you design appropriate activities for your class.

Curriculum Development

Physical education classes can, at times, seem like kids running around willy-nilly, throwing balls, and running in circles. But, if taught correctly, it's so much more. Physical education provides a physical development component of a student's education to accompany their academic work. Physical education is an important part of any school curriculum. In this lesson, we'll discuss how to develop a good class curriculum that fosters student development and some activities that can be included.

Physical education is widely recognized as an integral part of every student's education, not only so they can develop motor and physical skills, but to encourage them to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Because the units and activities you choose to include in your curriculum will likely depend on grade and skill level, this lesson will lay out a few important principles to keep in mind. Let's go through these principles one at a time now.

Opportunity & Participation

The physical activities you choose to use in your curriculum should be appropriate for the age and skill level of your class. Ensuring you have these appropriate activities for your class fosters maximum participation. After all, you want to make sure your students are encouraged to participate and emboldened to try and excel. Choosing a game with arcane rules or skills, which they can't easily master at their level, will discourage participation.

Geared Toward Development

Once you've accurately assessed the skill level of your classroom, it's important to ensure that the curriculum you sculpt for your students has their development in mind. Simply playing basketball over and over again in a class composed primarily of members of the basketball team may be fun to watch, but it doesn't do much to develop those students' other physical skills.

Indeed, activities included in your curriculum should be geared toward improving the entirety of a student's physical aptitude and aid his or her development. For example, younger students should have activities that aid complex motor skill development, which some students may still be lacking. This includes activities such as jumping rope, freeze tag, or dodgeball. All of these activities improve a student's physical fitness while developing basic physical skills like jumping, running, or throwing.

Older students, on the other hand, should be involved in more complex games that require social, cooperative, and cognitive skills, in addition to basic motor skills. Team sports such as basketball, kickball, or softball require students to use basic motor skills and think about what they're doing and why. These types of activities are good to include in classes with more physically advanced students.

Skills to Teach

When you develop your physical education curriculum, it's important for you to include only activities that you feel you can adequately and appropriately teach. Students learning any new skill, whether it's on the basketball court or in the chemistry lab, need proper instruction to learn and master new skills. In physical education, this is particularly important, because improper physical education can sometimes lead to injury or chronic pain if done wrong repeatedly without correction.

So you need to be sure that you can properly teach the games and skills you choose to include in your physical education curriculum. If you feel you can't properly teach your students a certain skill, it may be wise to substitute a different activity that develops similar skills. Likewise, if you really want to teach a unit in which you don't feel adequately prepared, ask around; there may be other teachers, or even an advanced student, with the skills necessary to provide some guest instruction to your students.

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