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PE Lesson Plans for High School (FREE High School PE Activities)
- Doug Curtin
- November 17, 2021
Physical education teachers have a lot to cover! We have put together a week’s worth of PE lesson plans for high school students that range in fitness, nutrition, yoga and more. We hope you enjoy the free content and give some lessons a try with your students!
Struggling to find engaging PE activities for high school students ?
Finding quality physical education lesson plans for high school is no simple task! Getting the right instructional materials that will engage and excite your students while not breaking the bank is hard!
Yes, you can search online, go to a Shape America conference, or talk to fellow PE teachers and find hundreds of PE activities and physical education lesson plans to use.
But, you will often end up with tons of phys ed games for high school students that are fun once and then quickly lose student’s attention. Or, you end up finding workouts that have barely clothed models that are a far cry from what you want for high school fitness lesson plans .
What is there for high school PE ?
Producing high school physical education units on multiple topics is tough!
Do you feel like you are a jack of all trades and yet a master of none? You only have so much money in your budget and time in your day to teach all the different PE topics well. You are left asking yourself,
- What equipment do I need for fun and cutting edge PE games for high school ?
- Do I have the right equipment to run PE workouts for high school ?
How does this all even fit into what my administrators want for high school physical education lesson plans ?
A week’s worth of free PE lesson plans for high school classes
When you feel like you are at stalemate with your lessons, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to sample! With so many great phys ed lesson plans for high school, it is hard to make sense of all that is out there. Here you will find a sample week of high-quality content that high school pe teachers tap into on a yearly basis.
With a combination of fitness, nutrition, yoga, and dance, there is something to for every student to look forward to in the week. Additionally, you’ll find that some days give you a little extra time to sprinkle in some of those fun pe games that your kids still long for!
Day 1: Intro To Fitness – Air Squat & Hinge
Many students arrive to high school needing a full introduction to foundational human movements. Even if they did learn things like the squat, lunge, hinge, press, and pull at the middle school level, chances are that your high school physical education class will greatly benefit from movement review.
Today, we are beginning our movement and fitness journey by learning two of the most important foundational human movements – the Squat & the Hinge.
- 2 Minutes of light cardio
- Spiderman & Reach – 1 Minute Continuous Movement, Alternating
- Alt. Samson – 1 Minute Continuous Movement
- Good Mornings 4 x 10 Reps
- Elbow Plan 4 x :20 Seconds
- 1:00 Rest After Each Round
- Introduce the 4 points of performance
- Air Squat 2 x 5 Reps
5 Rounds Of 10 Air Squats + 2:00 Walk/Jog/Run
Day 2: Intro To Nutrition – Calories
Are you tasked with teaching wellness within your physical education class? If you need a day off from physical activity and in need of lesson ideas, nutrition can be a fantastic addition.
While nutrition can be a part of k-12 physical education plan, high school is often the first time where students can start to contextualize the science and practical application of nutrition. With written and video lessons, paired with chapter questions students have an interactive way to start exploring their everyday nutrition.
- Written lesson breaking down what our body sees when we eat and how many calories we need
- Video breaking down energy and chemistry of calories
- Check out the full lesson segment here
- Written lesson discussing signs of not eating enough or eating too much
- Video introducing and explaining the hunger to fullness scale
- Check out the full lesson segment here
- 9 chapter questions provided that can be either done individually or incorporated as part of a group discussion
Discover the Power of PLT4M
Curious how more than 10,000 PE teachers are using PLT4M’s Fitness and Wellness Curriculum and digital learning software?
Day 3: Intro to Fitness – Press & Pull
Returning back to another fitness lesson plan for high school PE. Now, we hit the upper body and learn how to safely press and pull. We focus on scaling and modifying with all our physical activity, but place a special emphasis on this with things like pressing and pulling.
In this lesson students will learn how to appropriately scale the level of difficulty the push up and inverted row.
- Shoulder Warm Up – 15 Slow Reps per movement
- 1:00 Jumping Jacks
- Introduce the 4 points of performance of push up
- Review movement scaling and elevating the push up
- Elevated Push Ups 4 x 5
- Introduce the 4 points of performance of the inverted row
- Inverted Row 5 x 5
- Introduce the butterfly sit up
- Butterfly sit up 2 x 5
- AMRAP 8: 60 Jumping Jacks, 10 Push Ups, 10 Butterfly Sit ups
Day 4: Intro To Yoga – Standing Poses
Yoga is one of the most popular exercise options and requires no equipment. But as a physical education teacher you may not feel comfortable teaching yoga.
Like any type of physical activity, yoga has basic components that can be introduced as an excellent start. In this lesson, students will get a chance to try and practice four of the most popular standing poses in yoga, and then put them into a more traditional flow.
- Begin yoga integration
- Flow Sun A with performance and refinement cues
- Flow Sun A using breath to movement
- Chair Pose Intro & Practice
- Warrior 2 Intro & Practice
- Extended Side Angle Intro & Practice
- Reverse Warrior Intro & Practice
- Apply new poses to a full flow
- Practice 2 times through, 1 slow, 1 faster
Day 5: Dance Fitness
Many physical education programs have what is called a ‘fun Friday.’ If you arrive on day 5 and want to give the choice of different gym games for high school students, then go for it!
You have had a great week of lessons, and your students can now have some time to explore and play different games like frisbee, badminton, or volleyball that you have throughout the gym.
If you want to have a little more structure but keep the fun, give dance fitness a try! A trending topic in the world of fitness, dance gives students a fun way to sweat and move.
- Get moving with some light cardio
- Layer in a few static stretches
- Introduce and and practice the 8 main dance moves for the main cardio effort
- Put the 8 dance moves to work through a fun sequence following along with Coach Alexa
- Let your heart rates come back down and hit some stretches before going on with the rest of your day
Let us do the heavy lifting! Get access to our complete lineup of PE lesson plans for high school students
This was just one week of PE lesson plans to give you a taste! At PLT4M, you can tap into hundreds of high school physical education lesson plans that fit your goals and needs. Tap into fitness, flexibility, yoga, dance, weightlifting, and more all in a centralized and easy to use spot.
All of PLT4M’s instructors make these resources with high school students in mind and work to keep it fun and engaging. On top of keeping your students excited about PE, keep your administrators happy knowing all of PLT4M’s programs are aligned to Shape America national standards.
How are Plt4m’s high school PE units delivered?
PLT4M is totally flexible and customizable to your classroom, students and teaching style. Use it as much or as selectively as you like to enhance your curriculum. PLT4M is designed to work seamlessly with your classroom technology, whether you have a projector, are one-to-one, or can allow students to use their phones.
What types of high school physical education activities do you cover?
Our ever-growing library of original content includes a variety of programs intended to spark lifelong physical literacy. Check out the options below:
- Weight Training
- Dance Fitness
- Remote Learning
Do you only provide fitness activities for high school students?
No, we also have PE lesson plans for middle school students that are age appropriate and engaging! There is something for everyone within PLT4M!
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Nicki Newman Case, PEC Facebook Post " I wanted to thank PE Central for sending me an email that said I won $50 for a published kid quote. I am going to let the kid who wrote the Valentine help me pick out what he wants from the S&S catalog to use in our gym. I am also going to buy him the "I got Published" t-shirt. THANK YOU! I presented the winner of the Kids Quote of the Week with his T-shirt this morning at assembly! He LOVED it! "
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Lesson Plan Sections
- Environmental (1)
- Science (1)
Physical education prepares children for an active and healthy life while improving self discipline and reducing stress. This section includes PE lessons from kindergarten through high school spanning different skill levels and objectives. Lessons are categorized by grade for easy retrieval. These lessons were created by real teachers working in schools across the United States. The section will continue to grow as more teachers like you share your lesson plans. We encourage you! Share your lessons plans Teacher.org, contact us .
P.e. environmental lesson plans, food chain tag.
Students will learn a brief background about energy transfer between the sun, producers, primary consumers, and secondary consumers. ½ of the students are primary consumers (plants) and ¼ of the students are primary consumers (rabbits) and ¼ of the students are secondary consumers (hawks).
P.E. P.E. Lesson Plans
Aces and exercise.
Using a deck of playing cards, the students will pick the number of reps for various exercises.
Students will practice listening skills and basic physical concepts as required in physical education class. Students will also work on balance and coordination.
Combining information about the speed of animals, the students will run laps in the gym or outdoors.
Students will practice teamwork, dribbling, and shooting a basketball.
Bear Hunt Obstacle Course
This plan will combine reading with balance and coordination skills to allow students to navigate a simple obstacle course.
Boom Over Movement Game
Students will play a game in which they need to change direction quickly. Students are to pretend that they are on a sailboat that is in the middle of a storm. They will have to run and change direction based on verbal commands and duck quickly to avoid being hit by the imaginary boom.
This lesson is designed to help students learn the importance and reasons for exercise through multiple activities and discussions.
This plan will allow students to practice coordination while staying physical.
The student will participate in a game of basketball using various sizes of available balls.
The students will move to the music based on its beat, words, tune, and other variables.
On Top of Spaghetti
The students will research games and activities from other countries to share during a PE class.
Pass It Off
This lesson will allow students to practice passing, dribbling, and bouncing skills using basketballs
Students will practice basic aerobics moves while trying to stay positioned on paper plates, this aids in coordination.
Race to the Answer
This lesson will allow students to practice teamwork, basic math skills, and get exercise through a relay race. Note: Problems/difficulty level can be altered by grade
Ride ‘Em Cowboy/girl
This lesson will allow students to practice gross motor skills.
Students will practice listening skills and basic physical concepts as required in physical education class.
Ski to the Finish Line
This plan will allow students to practice coordination while staying physical. Students will demonstrate moving straight, backwards, and in a zig-zag pattern.
The New PE Class
The students will create a PE activity to share and demonstrate to peers.
This lesson will allow students to practice teamwork and trust building, as well as working on directionality for younger students.
What Time is it FOX?
The students play a game where they practice different movements including jumping, galloping, skipping, running, jogging, leaping, and walking. Based on National Physical Education Standards, students should have been learning these skills for the last 4 years.
P.E. Science Lesson Plans
Ready to pursue a master’s degree in education make it your time.
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Are you currently teaching but have the desire to pursue a Master’s Degree in Education? Follow your passion for teaching but at the same time give yourself the tools to further your career and learning. Whether it’s higher salaries, advanced career opportunities, or leadership positions, earning your Master’s Degree in Education is one worth pursuing. Make it your time!
The World's Most Evidence-Based Physical Education & Physical Activity Programs!
High School Curriculum
SPARK was designed to be more inclusive, active, and enjoyable than traditional PE classes, and more than 30 years for research and dissemination support the achievements of those original goals.
SPARK digital members now get full access to the FIRST physical education curriculum & assessment app! Learn More.
SPARK is a complete program made of four key components!
"What To Teach"
Comprehensive, engaging curriculum for high school – Standards aligned and high MVPA (moderate to vigorous physical activity) lessons; easy to learn, easy to teach format! Learn more below.
"how to teach".
Teacher training is designed to provide a working knowledge of SPARK’s unique content and instructional strategies. Teachers leave motivated and ready to “SPARK-up” their students for a lifetime of good health!
"tools to teach".
Expert-selected, high-quality, content-matched Gopher equipment provides you with everything you need to execute the SPARK High School program!
Free Lifetime Support
Once a sparker, always a sparker.
For a program to work and last, ongoing consultation must be provided. SPARK is committed to extensive follow-up via their unique “SPARK Stars” institutionalization model, offering FREE lifetime support through toll-free number and e-mail consultation, a monthly webinar series, social networking opportunities and a monthly eNewsletter that includes SPARK updates and teaching tips.
Interested in learning more or have questions?
Complete the short form below and our team will reach out within 2-4 business days., high school curriculum features, the world's most evidence-based physical education program designed for high school.
Heart Rate Monitor Unit
This unit provides students with an excellent foundation of introductory concepts and principles that are aligned with cardiovascular endurance. It also gives students an understanding of their current fitness levels and tools to monitor their heart health.
16 Print + 22 Digital Units!
The instructional units are aligned with the SPARK Yearly Plan. Receive updates for free with an active subscription!
Over 600 Activities!
The High School curriculum, available in a new enhanced lesson plan format, includes more than 600 standards-aligned, high MVPA, easy to learn, and easy to teach activities that your students will love.
An Evidence-Based Curriculum That's Proven to Work
View articles that prove the dramatic results achieved by high schools that have implemented SPARK programs.
- Social and Emotional Learning
Featuring over 50 SEL skill definition and T-chart cards, as well as 10+ SEL lessons.
The SPARK High School curriculum also includes the following teacher resources:
Likert scale rubrics that are linked to National and State Physical Education Standards plus student self-assessments and unit tests are included in every instructional unit. Now you can assess students with the SPARK App !
Contains the music you need to teach SPARK including warm-up music, interval music, and all songs to instruct SPARK dances.
Skill, Task, and Station Cards
Skill cards may be used as teaching aids, for stations in a circuit, or in combination to create movement routines. English/Spanish
SPARK digital members now get full access to the FIRST physical education curriculum & assessment app!
DOWNLOAD A FREE TRIAL TODAY!
High School Curriculum Units (300+ Lesson Plans)
ASAP (Active Soon As Possible)
Digital Only Units
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- Heart Rate Monitor
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- Cooperatives: Adventure Racing
- Positive Learning Environment
All SPARK High School Lessons Include:
Learning objectives and targets.
Statements that describe what students are expected to learn and learning targets written in student friendly “I can” statements.
Teaching Cues and Suggestions
Short phrases identify key concepts students should know as they engage in the activity and instructional hints from SPARK PE specialists who have instructed the activity before.
SPARK It Up!
A progression of extensions that add more activities and provide different challenges.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies
Shows lesson’s alignment with CASEL’s SEL competencies and related social skills.
Different levels of questioning allow teachers to assess knowledge and understanding, address social emotional learning concepts, and provide opportunities for self assessment.
Standards and Outcomes Alignment
Indicates SHAPE America National Physical Education Standards and Grade-Level Outcomes.
PREP, SET, TEACH Format
Lists equipment/materials needed, describes set-up prior to instruction, and includes ready-to-read activity description that states objectives, instructions, and directions.
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A combination of tennis and ping pong, this active game features simple rules and a slower pace great for people of all ages and skill levels. To play you need a court similar to a tennis court with a net, pickleball paddles, and the ball which resembles a whiffle ball. Play a singles game or play with a small team. Teens will feel like their in a giant-sized ping pong game.
When capture the flag mixes with a snowball fight, you get Yuki Ball. Based on a Japanese game, teams hide behind barriers and launch small softballs in an effort to protect their flag and steal the other team's flag. To play you need to buy a Yuki Ball kit for around $800 that includes balls, barriers, pinnies and buckets. Two teams of up to seven people on each can play at one time, but you can have more than one game going at a time in a gymnasium. If you have a small budget, make your own set with cardboard box barriers and wool dryer balls or the fake snowballs you find around winter in stores.
Hunger Games Gym Class Competition
Tie in pop culture with your curriculum when you include this fun game inspired by The Hunger Games novels and movies. The main goal is to be the last person standing in the game. To do this, you'll need to avoid getting hit by "weapons" like dodgeballs and pool noodles wielded by other players. The Hunger Games Competition can be played in a gym, in several rooms or outdoors.
To start, all the "weapons" are placed in the center of the room and the players are placed in a circle at equal distances from the center. Teens can try to get a "weapon" or choose to run away. Each person hangs a bandana or flag from their waist that, when pulled off, eliminates them from the game. If a person gets hit with a weapon, they aren't out of the game, but they do lose the use of whatever body part got hit for the rest of the game.
This high-paced game gets the whole class moving at once, requires cooperative teamwork, and incorporates other areas of learning. In Hoop Scrabble , you form small teams and give each a hula hoop to place on the ground in their designated area around the perimeter of the gym. Dump a ton of small balls, like tennis or ping pong balls, in the center of the room. Teams then have to collect balls and spell a word inside their team's hoop before any other team does or before anyone steals their balls. What's great about this creative game is teens don't need to be athletic to have fun playing. Once all the balls have been collected, teams start stealing from each other which makes the game more fun.
Original PE Games
Sometimes the best gym games are the ones you and the teens create. Take inspiration from traditional or classic games then make them unique using special equipment or rules.
Think of this as an advanced form of follow the leader. You don't need any equipment, just an open space, and some creative, willing kids. Divide the group into teams of at least five people on each team and set each team in a line, one person behind the next. Teams will jog together staying in a line. The teacher will call out "Shape Shift" at various points and teams must react appropriately at that time.
To start, the first person in each line forms a shape or pose with his arms and everyone in line holds the same position as they start to jog. When you call out "Shape Shift" the second person in each line forms a new arm pose and all other team members copy it. To do this, the first person in line will need to turn around and will be jogging backward for the rest of the game. Repeat these actions until the entire team is turned backward. This is a fun, non-competitive game.
Flag team is an individualized version of capture the flag. Give each student a designated spot in the gym with a hula hoop on the floor and a flag in the middle of the hoop. The goal is for each person to protect their flag but also steal at least one other flag. If your flag is stolen, you choose another person who still has their flag to join. You cannot steal any more flags once you are out, but you can help the other person defend theirs.
The rules are simple in terms of offense and defense. You cannot stand inside your hoop nor anyone else's. To stop someone from stealing your flag you must tag them on the back only. If you get tagged on the back by any player at any point in the game, you are out.
Get Your Game On
Everyone has a different definition of fun. Create a physical education class inclusive of every kid when you choose a wide variety of games. The only true way to know if teens will like a game is to try it out. So, introduce some new games and see which ones become favorites with your group.
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PE Games for High School and Middle School
Including games and fun physical activities can make your PE class more fun and more entertaining. In this article, you will find everything you need to know about including games in your high school or middle school PE class.
Why Do You Need Games in PE?
Games in PE help the students love physical exercise and increase the likelihood that they will stay active outside of the school.
In almost every high school and middle school, a physical exercise class is required (PE). Having some sort of physical exercise every day is important. The Mayo Clinic suggests at least "150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity." Including exercise in your day can also promote better sleep, boost your energy, improve your mood, and combat or prevent serious health conditions such as arthritis, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and strokes. Schools include a PE as a way to encourage school-aged children to become more active. Many PE classes teach new skills and show fun ways to exercise.
PE classes teach school-aged children about the importance of exercise and help them incorporate exercise into their daily lives, even when they don't have a required PE class. However, forcing the students to run laps around the track every day can become boring and repetitive, often having the opposite effect. Instead of teaching the students to love exercise, monotonous activities can teach them to dislike it. Rather than forcing them to run laps, PE teachers should teach the students games and physical activities that the students can play outside of school. Games and fun activities are important in PE classes because they help the students learn better ways to exercise their bodies outside of the PE class.
Can High Schoolers and Middle Schoolers Play the Same Games?
Yes! High schoolers and middle schoolers can enjoy the same activities.
In most schools, there's a distinction between middle school and high school. High schoolers are often portrayed as young adults. However, does this mean that PE classes need an entirely new exercise routine for high schoolers? For most students, the answer is no. Games that can be played by middle schoolers in a PE class are also perfect for high school classes. As the students age, the games simply become faster-paced and more competitive. As long as the students around them look like they're having fun, everyone will enjoy themselves.
PE teachers should also pay attention to the skill level of each student. While some students might be on a local soccer team, others might be barely comfortable learning to hula hoop. The fitness level and a student’s willingness to participate in a physical activity should be noted by the physical education teacher. Teachers should plan the day’s lesson around the skill and fitness of the students in order to make sure that the workout fits the grade level. If the majority of the class has a lower fitness threshold, teachers should keep the lesson plan more basic. Instead of forcing the students to run a mile, create an obstacle course, host a make-shift bowling class, or teach them to play frisbee. A gym class teacher should focus on creating a PE lesson that matches the needs of each child in the class, regardless of the grade.
What Are the Best PE Games for Indoor and Outdoor?
Some of the best games include nine-square, dodgeball, and badminton. Of course, you'll need a steady rotation of games to keep your students engaged day after day.
Finding the best PE games for your students might seem daunting. To make things easier for PE teachers and assistants, we've collected eight of the best games and activities for students of all ages. The top eight games for both high school students and middle school students are:
One of the most popular PE games is 9 Square . 9 Square is a portable variation of the classic school-yard game four-square. To play 9 Square, you will need a simple portable court. The game is set up in a few minutes and can be played as an indoor game or an outdoor game, depending on the weather. The court is set up above your head, with nine squares made out of sturdy poles and straps or nets. Each student stands below a square, claiming that area. The middle of the three-by-three grid is the "king" or "queen" zone. The goal of the game is to make it to the middle square
When the round starts, the king or queen starts with the ball. He or she hit it up and out of his or her square and into another square. When the ball passes into another square, the ball becomes that person's play, and they have to hit it up and out of their square without the ball leaving the court. If the ball is hit out of the court or if the ball hits the ground, the person at fault is out of the game. The players in squares move up to fill the empty space, and a new player from the waiting line takes the ninth square. You can learn more about the rules of 9 square by visiting Castle Sports .
Nine-square is a perfect game for large groups because it incorporates nine people at the same time and has an ever-rotating group of players. This stops the game from becoming exclusive towards specific students and encourages students to make friends with other faces. Nine-square is also a great game because you can have multiple games happening simultaneously without taking up a lot of room. Playing nine-square is a fun way for students of all ages (from elementary PE to high school) to exercise and enjoy physical activity.
- Capture the Flag
Another game that's easy to play is capture the flag. Capture the flag is a common game in both middle and high school. It requires the players to run back and forth either on offense or defense. If you have a group of competitive students, this game is perfect. Capture the flag is best played outdoors on grass or turf.
To play the game, separate the students into two groups, and each student is given a flag that is secured loosely to their waist. Both groups will also have a team flag that they need to protect located on the far side of their half of the field. Each team will need to protect their flag from the offense of the other team. The groups can decide to work together to steal the other team's flag, or they can work individually. If a person crosses to the other side, their personal flags are now vulnerable, and the opposite team can grab the flags from their waist. If the person's individual flag is taken, the person is sent to the opposite team's "jail." Teammates can be saved from jail if another member of the team tags those people. Once a jailed member has been tagged, they must return to their side of the field. The first team to successfully steal the other team's flag and return it to the other side of the field wins the game.
Capture the flag is extremely active and encourages students to run and bond. It can be played as a middle school game or a high school game as long as students are willing to participate. PE teachers should also be aware of the temperature outside and ensure that the temperature isn't too hot or cold to have the students sprinting up and down the field.
Dodgeball is a simple, easy game that students can play indoors. To play dodgeball, you will need at least ten rubber balls. The balls used in the game should be bouncy and soft to limit injuries. You will need to clarify that headshots don't count in order to encourage students to aim away from the heads of other students. The game rules are simple; the first team with no active players is the losing team.
To play, separate the class into two teams and place them in clearly marked areas. In the center of the playing area, line up all of the balls used in the game. The teams will line up on the far border of their playing area, furthest away from the center. When the teams are ready, blow a whistle, and both teams will run to the center and grab as many balls as possible. They will then throw the balls at the other team, trying to hit as many people as possible. If a ball thrown by the opposite team hits a player, then that player is out of the game. If the person catches the ball thrown by the opposite team, the person who threw the ball is out of the game. Balls that are out of the square can be thrown back into the game by the PE teacher.
Once all members of one team are out, the team with players still in the game wins. Typically, this game can take up to 15 minutes to complete. At the end of the game, switch up the teams and repeat with the same rules.
Volleyball is another fairly active game that can be played with competitive students or passive students. To play volleyball, the school will need to have volleyball nets and ports in the gym where the volleyball poles can be installed. Volley isn't the most portable game and is limited to where the setup is possible. However, if volleyball is possible in your gym, it's a great game to introduce to your students. Most students are familiar with the rules of volleyball.
You will need six students on either side of the net. One team starts with the volleyball, and the back right corner of the team serves the ball. The server will try to hit the ball over the net to the other team. The opposite team can hit the ball three times before the ball must be hit over the net and back to the serving team. A point is scored every time the ball hits the ground. The goal of the game is to be the first to score 21 points.
Competitive students will enjoy playing volleyball because it allows them to work as a team to win against another team. However, competitive students may get frustrated with less motivated team members if they aren't willing to play the game. Because of this, it may be helpful to let friends pick their own teams.
Badminton is a popular sport for both middle schoolers and high schoolers. At a non-competitive level, it is a low-energy sport that almost anyone can play as long as they have a basic level of hand and eye coordination. To play, you will need to set up badminton nets across the gym. Because only four people can play at one time, you will need quite a few nets in order to have everyone playing the game. Rather than solely playing badminton, this sport might be paired best with another activity happening at the same time.
The rules of badminton are:
"The aim of badminton is to hit the shuttle with your racket so that it passes over the net and lands inside your opponent's half of the court. Whenever you do this, you have won a rally; win enough rallies, and you win the match. Your opponent has the same goal. He will try to reach the shuttle and send it back into your half of the court. You can also win rallies from your opponent's mistakes: if he hits the shuttle into or under the net, or out of court, then you win the rally. If you think your opponent's shot is going to land out, then you should let it fall to the floor. If you hit the shuttle instead, then the rally continues. Once the shuttle touches the ground, the rally is over."
Badminton is a fun game that can be played at a basic level. If you have access to enough nets, you can set up the game as a tournament style, where the winners will move up to a King and Queen net while the losers will move down. At the end of the class period, you can have a match between the two best players. This will give a chance for the competitive students to work hard during the matches and have an incentive to win the game.
Kickball is another fun game for competitive students. Kickball is an outdoor game that should be played in a baseball diamond. The game itself has the same rules as baseball, but the baseball has been replaced with a red rubber ball. Instead of the pitcher throwing the ball at high speed, the ball is rolled on the ground towards a kicker. The kicker kicks the ball as hard as they can and runs for the first base. Kickball is a simpler version of baseball and is easy to play for those unable or unwilling to play baseball.
The game can be high intensity, or it can be fairly relaxed, depending on who has stepped onto the playing field. For PE teachers looking for an easy outdoor sport to play with the class, kickball is a great option. The game can also be modified to be played indoors; however, outdoors is where this game blossoms.
- Freeze Tag
Freeze tag can be played indoors in the gym or outdoors on the grass. It's a simple game that requires no preparation or equipment, making it ideal for warm summer days when you want to get the students outside in the sun or for rainy indoor class days. Additionally, everyone plays the game at the same time, meaning that there's no waiting line or queue where students wait to be included. Everyone is included at the very beginning of the game.
To play, one person starts the game as the tagger. That person runs and tries to tag another student. When someone is tagged, they become "frozen" and can't move. The game continues until only a few people are left, and most of the group is frozen. There are also variations of the game where there are multiple taggers, and those who are frozen can be freed when tagged by another free player.
Another variation of the game is sharks and minnows. With this game, one person starts as the "shark." They stand in the middle of a playing field, and all of the "minnows" line up on one side of the field. When the PE teacher blows the whistle, all the minnows run to the line on the opposite side of the playing field. This means that the minnows will have to run past the shark. The shark will try to tag as many minnows as possible as they run past him or her. Once the minnows have made it to the other side (not including those who have been tagged), the game begins again. For the next round, all the tagged minnows now become sharks. The game gets harder and harder for the minnows as the number of sharks increases each round until there is only one minnow left.
- All Sports Out
When the PE teacher isn't sure which sport to pick, they can always pick "All Sports." This simply means that the teacher will get all of the sports and let the students pick which game is most appealing to them. In one corner of the gym, the nine-ball game will be set up, and nine students will be playing that game. In another corner of the gym, a volleyball game will be up and ready to go. In the center of the gym, the teacher can set out jump ropes, hula hoops, and other games that entertain a smaller group of students. When the teacher chooses "All Sports," it means that the students will get to pick which activity they want to play for the day. This will also give the teacher an idea of what the students enjoy most since that activity will have the most students playing that game.
In PE, the most important aspect of a successful game is that all students feel included. As long as all students are laughing and having fun, your class has been successful.
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PE Game Ideas and Resources
The PE Game Ideas section provides you with Physical Education resources which will help you to plan PE Warm Up Games, PE Tag Games, PE Thinking Games, and PE Coordination Games. Within each section you will find a whole range of different games which will excite and challenge your students. Each PE Game outlines what equipment is required, how to set the game up, how to play the game and how to differentiate the game. The resources can be downloaded and can support your PE planning. Lots of the resources are free. Click below to explore each section:
Warm Up Games
Christmas PE Games
Physical Education Activities for High School
Gym class is the one class that most high school students look forward to, so it is up to the gym teacher to make sure that each unit is fun and exciting. It's important to include different activities related to sports like baseball, basketball, and even swimming, with different phases included for each unit.
Explore this article
- About Physical Education Activities for High School
- Planning a Unit
- Indoor Activities
- Outdoor Activities
- Aquatic Activities
1 About Physical Education Activities for High School
Physical Education--a.k.a. gym class or PE--is the one class that most high school students look forward to. It is where they can kick back and just have a good time. It is only fun, however, if you choose activities that students will enjoy.
PE teachers, no pressure. You are the one in charge of making that block of time enjoyable for high school students.
2 Planning a Unit
PE teachers should plan their units in advance in order to create order in the gymnasium. A unit plan has up to six phases:
Unit name is the content area for which the activity relates in terms of health and activity, the start and end date, and what purpose the unit serves.
Objectives focus on what the students will get out of the unit in terms of psychomotor (i.e. throwing and catching a ball), cognitive (thought process) and affective (overall behavior).
Scope and sequence provides a day-by-day scope of what students will do each day of the unit. For example, on day one, there will be introduction to the unit. On day five, students will play modified games and on day 10, they will play game and the teacher will conduct a final assessment.
Assessment refers to how you will measure whether or not the students met the unit's objectives.
Emergency lesson plans create a backup in case of inclement weather, lack of appropriate space, or any other external factor prevents you from going through with any given day.
Materials requires that a teacher make of list of what will be needed for the unit (i.e. baseballs, baseball bats and gloves).
Students may be involved in different activities in PE than their peers, depending on the time of the year. For those who have gym class year-round, the number of activities is limited. For example, most high schools in Pennsylvania are on block scheduling, which means half of a ninth grade class will have PE from the beginning of school up until winter break, and the other half will have PE starting after winter break up until the end of school.
Before jumping into any activity, be sure that students warm-up to loosen their muscles and avoid injury. Have them run at least three laps around the gymnasium, split them into four or five lines (give or take a few depending on the class size), and perform warm-up exercises across the gymnasium (width). Skills like high kicks, heel-to-butt kicks, sideways lunges, high knees and spider crawls really wake up the muscles.
4 Indoor Activities
Indoor activities are the easiest to plan, especially if your school has a gymnasium that is used for this sole purpose, because you do not have to worry so much about the ever-changing weather. For high school students, the activity ideas are limitless.
Basketball is a great co-ed activity, with numerous games that breakdown the real game to focus on specific areas. Zone ball teaches students the fundamentals of zone defense using six hula hoops at each end of the court. Students must stand inside the hula hoop, chest passing the ball to one another; no dribbling is allowed. Another good basketball-related activity is basketball golf, where students learn various ranges to shoot the ball. Using index cards with the hole number written on them (hole one, hole two and so on), write a cue for shooting on the back, and tape each card to the floor. Working clockwise, each student must make a basket at hole one before moving on.
Aerobics and dance is another great indoor activity to get students working in groups and use their creativity to come up with a routine. All you need is a CD/tape player and anything the groups (three to five students) need. Give them up to three days to come up with a routine. They will perform the routine to the rest of the class, then ask their peers to join by teaching them the moves.
For girls, a great unit to incorporate is self-defense (boys could partake in an activity like wrestling during this unit). It not only helps with hand-eye coordination, but also offers balance, flexibility and strength techniques that can be incorporated into real-world experiences.
Dodge ball is and always will be a classic, just like Capture the Flag. Both activities promote teamwork, agility, quick thinking and hand-eye coordination.
5 Outdoor Activities
Four obvious activities come to mind when thinking of outdoor PE units, including tennis, soccer, baseball (for boys) and softball (for girls). Quick serve tennis is fast-paced and introduces the fundamentals of tennis, especially on the pace and placement of players. Switch soccer teaches students how to work the soccer field, but the objective is to play keep away as opposed to getting a goal. Once they get the concept down, focus them on kicking one soccer ball into another, then have them switch sides of the field. Track and field is the most basic outdoor activity in play. Students learn each event involved (high jump, javelin, shot-put, hurdles and sprints). Some PE teachers blend all of the events, while others specify an individual day for each event. Students are generally assessed not by how well they perform the event, but rather how hard they try and how many reps are attempted.
6 Aquatic Activities
Aquatics are a fun way to mix things up during the unit if you have easy access to a pool. Things as simple as swimming freestyle laps can be put into play, followed by timed lengths of the pool, then closing out with races. It is also good to incorporate instruction of each different stroke so students can learn the proper technique for each (breast, butterfly, back and freestyle). Games like water polo, water volleyball and water basketball are fun ways to incorporate dry land activities into the water. This is a great alternative to the dry land activity because there is less impact to the bodies and less of an opportunity for injuries to arise. CPR is a good three-day unit to incorporate into any aquatics session, but it can also serve as an emergency unit.
About the Author
Kortny Williamson is a freelance writer from Lancaster, Pa. She attended the University of Iowa where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication studies and a minor in journalism.
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Physical education is the foundation of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program. 1, 2 It is an academic subject characterized by a planned, sequential K–12 curriculum (course of study) that is based on the national standards for physical education. 2–4 Physical education provides cognitive content and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors for physical activity and physical fitness. 2–4 Supporting schools to establish physical education daily can provide students with the ability and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime. 2–4
There are many benefits of physical education in schools. When students get physical education, they can 5-7 :
- Increase their level of physical activity.
- Improve their grades and standardized test scores.
- Stay on-task in the classroom.
Increased time spent in physical education does not negatively affect students’ academic achievement.
Strengthen Physical Education in Schools [PDF – 437 KB] —This data brief defines physical education, provides a snapshot of current physical education practices in the United States, and highlights ways to improve physical education through national guidance and practical strategies and resources. This was developed by Springboard to Active Schools in collaboration with CDC.
Secular Changes in Physical Education Attendance Among U.S. High School Students, YRBS 1991–2013
The Secular Changes in Physical Education Attendance Among U.S. High School Students report [PDF – 3 MB] explains the secular changes (long-term trends) in physical education attendance among US high school students over the past two decades. Between 1991 and 2013, US high school students’ participation in school-based physical education classes remained stable, but at a level much lower than the national recommendation of daily physical education. In order to maximize the benefits of physical education, the adoption of policies and programs aimed at increasing participation in physical education among all US students should be prioritized. Download the report for detailed, nationwide findings.
Physical Education Analysis Tool (PECAT)
The Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT) [PDF – 6 MB] is a self-assessment and planning guide developed by CDC. It is designed to help school districts and schools conduct clear, complete, and consistent analyses of physical education curricula, based upon national physical education standards.
Visit our PECAT page to learn more about how schools can use this tool.
- CDC Monitoring Student Fitness Levels1 [PDF – 1.64 MB]
- CDC Ideas for Parents: Physical Education [PDF – 2 MB]
- SHAPE America: The Essential Components of Physical Education (2015) [PDF – 391 KB]
- SHAPE America: Appropriate Instructional Practice Guidelines for Elementary, Middle School, and High School Physical Education [PDF – 675 KB]
- SHAPE America: National Standards and Grade-Level Outcomes for K–12 Physical Education 2014
- SHAPE America: National Standards for K–12 Physical Education (2013)
- SHAPE America Resources
- Youth Compendium of Physical Activities for Physical Education Teachers (2018) [PDF – 145 KB]
- Social Emotional Learning Policies and Physical Education
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Guide for Developing Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs . Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services; 2013.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School health guidelines to promote healthy eating and physical activity. MMWR . 2011;60(RR05):1–76.
- Institute of Medicine. Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School . Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2013. Retrieved from http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18314&page=R1 .
- SHAPE America. T he Essential Components of Physical Education . Reston, VA: SHAPE America; 2015. Retrieved from http://www.shapeamerica.org/upload/TheEssentialComponentsOfPhysicalEducation.pdf [PDF – 392 KB].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance . Atlanta, GA; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health and Academic Achievement. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.
- Michael SL, Merlo C, Basch C, et al. Critical connections: health and academics . Journal of School Health . 2015;85(11):740–758.
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