Introducing Fitness Components in PE

How to combine knowledge and physical activity for this mini unit. This blog post will include an exact example of what I do in my class to introduce the unit over 2 (90 min) class periods.

At the very beginning of class I ask students “Are physical activity and exercise the same thing?” I usually get mixed answers so then I say “What if I ask it like this” and have them raise their hands. 1. “Physical activity and exercise are always the same”. 2. “Physical activity and exercise are never the same” 3. “Physical activity and exercise are never the same”. You will get some mixed answers which leads to a great segway into the first activity.

Compare and Contrast Physical Activity and Exercise

I split students into 4 groups and had them alternate writing on the giant sticky notes one labeled physical activity and one labeled exercise. They were to write how they would define it and what makes it different or the same as the other. You could do this in smaller groups if you wished. Afterward we came together for a big discussion about them and defined physical activity as anytime we are moving in any way and gave examples. Then we defined exercise as intentional movement usually with a goal. We then gave examples of when something may be just physical activity (walking to the mailbox) and exercise (walking the neighborhood intentionally). It was a great way to intro the lesson and have some good conversation about being physically active but also making sure we are exercising as well.

4 Components Game

I changed my groups from 4 to 3 for this next activity. I used my 4 Components of Fitness Sorting Game ( ) to have students start learning what exercise falls under what category. I didn’t give them any pre information as I wanted to see what their prior knowledge was. The activity includes cards for Cardio, Resistance, and Flexibility (not neuro) and pictures of exercises that fit those categories. Students in relay race fashion run and pick up a photo that fits their groups category. Each correct picture counts as a positive point, each incorrect a negative point. You can change the relay up and have them lunge or crawl or other locomotor activities if you wish. After we have counted points, we discuss each component and define them.

Cardio= strengthening our heart and lungs

Resistance= strengthening our other muscles (skeletal muscles)

Flexibility= things that increase range of motion, mobility, and stretching

This is also where I introduce neuromotor as activities that increase a skill (agility practice, speed drills, balance, etc). We are able to then talk about activities that may fall under more than one category. For example, yoga is flexibility but also very neuromotor.

4 Corners

With big sticky notes write Cardio, Resistance, Flexibility, and Neuromotor at the top. Have your 3 groups rotate through the sticky notes and write down as many examples of exercises, sports, etc that fall under that component. I gave mine 1 min at each station then had them run to rotate. We then discussed the lists. This was a great way for them to apply the knowledge of the definitions of the words to come up with as many things as they could.

4 Components Circuit

I set up the gym in 4 sections, one for each component. There I had station cards that represented that component for students to do in circuit like fashion. I kept it quick about 30 seconds per station. They did all the exercises at their component then switched and repeated. This gave them the opportunity to DO the exercises that they now understood as one component or the other.

Exit Ticket/Knowledge Check

I had students line up and I went down and gave them a component. They had to name an exercise, sport, activity that fit in that component. They couldn’t use any of the exercises from the stations and could not repeat one that had been said. Once they gave a correct answer they were able to go dress out.

Day 2- 4 Components Mock Basketball Practice

Since the class before they got to experience the 4 components in a strictly fitness/exercise based structure, I wanted to give students the opportunity to see how what happens during sports classifies as each component. So we do a “mock basketball practice”. I make sure to give them the speech that I am not looking for everyone to be good and there is no competition in today’s lesson, only fun and learning. I have attached a pdf of what exactly I do for this entire class period (90 mins). It is free to download and use as you wish. You could do this with any sport, I just chose basketball due to the amount of equipment we have and my love of it.

Project to Show a Culmination of Learning

At the end of these few days I will give a warm up activity using playing cards, linked below for you for free! Then I assign them a project called “4 Components of Fitness Collage”. They will pick one component and create a collage digitally of things that belong to that component, it also contains photos of them so they like to be able to show off things they do. You can find it here:

Sample Project- this student gave permission for me to use this even though her name and face are covered 🙂

I do give them time to work in this in class since I never want them taking homework home for me. I always print and laminate a few of them to hang around the gym to showcase student work. I am able to see that they learned what exercises, sports, activities fit in a component by this project. It also is simple and doesn’t take them long, plus they love getting to choose which one.

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