Teaching PE Content Knowledge While Being Active

I am a big believer of delivering KNOWLEDGE and information to my High School PE students that will help them throughout their life. I have very specific things I want them to know, some of those being: recommendations of amounts of physical activity, bone and muscle names, types of flexibility exercises, nutrition information, health topics, etc. These topics, and others, aren’t always easy to convey in PE, since a big goal of our classrooms is to get kids moving and getting their physical activity in. So I started thinking about how I can deliver that knowledge and information WHILE they are being active. I want to stay away from the “sit and get” to allow for more movement and physical activity minutes. With that being said there may be those times where they need to be still and listen to directions or brief information before an activity, but I am trying to find any ways I can to limit that down time.

So how can I teach bones, muscles, nutrition, etc. without having to show PowerPoints, or other methods that have kids being still?

Here are some of my ideas:

  • Create circuits or station activities that have a fact/information as well as an exercise that goes along with what you are doing now. I have a few of these up in my TPT, one for the muscular system and one for flexibility! You can see what I mean in the video below of how I set those up. You can do this with a sport skill you are trying to accomplish, or really any information, just make your “fact” and your “exercise” match up.
Here is an example of how I use fact station cards in my classroom. Both of these are available to purchase in my TPT if interested!
  • Scavenger Hunts! Use the information you are wanting to teach and create a scavenger hunt. Kids are moving and they are getting the information you are wanting to teach. Win Win! You can create a physical scavenger hunt, or a digital online version. I have used an online scavenger hunt where students answered questions but also had to video themselves doing an activity that matched up with the topic we were studying. For example when we were studying body movements, they would have to video themselves doing “hip abduction”. In that movement I can assess they learned the vocabulary I wanted, and that they mastered the movement component as well.
  • Relay Races- I haven’t found a topic in my classroom that I can’t make into some kind of relay race! A good example is when studying the bones, I have giant skeletons for them to label, I could easily just have the students label them, but our goal is movement. So instead I have them label the skeleton in relay race fashion so that they are moving while demonstrating they have mastered the content knowledge.
  • Projects! I teach in a project based learning school so I am always thinking how I can incorporate content knowledge and movement into a project. That project may be demonstrating their knowledge of bone loading exercise by creating a video PSA on the topic. In that one project they are being active, demonstrating knowledge, and problem solving by creating a PSA. Another project I use is for them to develop a resistance exercise circuit where they set it up and teach the class. They demonstrate knowledge of major muscle groups, use of a variety of exercises, exercise form knowledge, and they are moving while creating it, setting it up, and leading the class through it. These projects also allow for so much individuality and choice for the students which keeps them engaged.
  • Escape Rooms- I haven’t personally used any escape rooms in my class YET. It’s a goal of mine to create some, but I can see them being very engaging and having the capacity to allow movement and information retention. If you have any you like I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know!
  • 4 Corners and Jigsaw Activities. These are activities I see in the general education classrooms but there are so many ways these can be used in PE as well to teach information but keep kids moving! These would be perfect for teaching rules of games and practicing skills of the games.

Physical Education to me is just as much about the education component as it is the physical. My goal is to teach them the importance of being active along with introducing them to as many activities as I can that they may decide they like and will keep them being active. Since I am big on that education component they are constantly learning, so I had to find a way to kill two birds with one stone, and the above are some of the ways I do that in my classroom. I don’t teach a lot of sports, since they get that in elementary and middle school, and studies show that the number of individuals participating in organized sports after high school is very very very minimal. So I want to expose them to lifelong activities beyond sports, while still incorporating those sometimes.

Here are some of the activities I talked about during the blog!

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