9 Activity Ideas for STEM in Physical Education

  • Lauren Chiangpradit
  • November 16, 2023
  • Reviewed by Sean Barton
  • Reviewed by Haley MacLean

Table of Contents

The Synergy of Movement and Learning

Physical education stem activities for elementary school, stem activities for middle school pe students, advanced stem challenges for high school learners, tech, tools, and resources for stem in physical education.

Integrating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) into Physical Education (PE) classes offers an innovative approach to education. In an era where sports statistics, science, and technology increasingly influence athletics, PE classes are uniquely positioned to blend physical activity with STEM learning and 21st century skills. This article explores how PE educators and facilitators can use STEM learning in their coursework. It also provides a range of curriculum activity ideas to get students at different education and skill levels engaged.

Research indicates that physical activity can significantly bolster cognitive abilities. When students participate in movement-based learning, they benefit physically and experience enhanced concentration, memory, and creativity. This cognitive boost is crucial for comprehending and applying STEM concepts, which often demand high levels of problem-solving and critical thinking. Active learning, where students engage in physical activities while learning STEM concepts, results in more profound understanding and retention of information. Integrating physical and mental challenges not only makes learning more enjoyable, but is more effective, as students apply theoretical concepts in practical settings, leading to better comprehension and recall.

Integrating STEM into elementary physical education presents a fantastic opportunity to lay the foundation for lifelong learning and curiosity in young students. Through these innovative activities, elementary school children can explore and understand key STEM concepts while engaging in fun and physical play. Each activity is designed to be not only educational but highly interactive and suitable for their developmental stage. Here are some engaging activities that blend physical education with STEM learning for elementary students:

  • Jump and Measure: Students perform a variety of jumps – like the long jump and high jump – and measure their distances or heights. This activity introduces basic concepts of measurement and physics, encouraging students to understand how force and motion play a role in their physical activities.
  • Geometry with Body Movements: In this activity, children use their bodies to create geometric shapes, either individually or in groups. It’s an engaging way for students to learn about basic geometry, spatial awareness, and symmetry. Teachers can challenge students to form complex shapes, enhancing their understanding and teamwork skills.
  • STEM Soccer : In a lesson devoted to measuring throw-ins, students collect data in centimeters and convert their data to meters dividing by 100. Students then evaluate measurement systems to decide the best measurement size. This disguised learning,  interactive lesson is a great way for physical education teachers to add STEM into their PE classes.
  • Weather and Exercise: Students observe and record weather patterns over a week and discuss how different weather conditions affect physical activities. This integrates meteorology into PE, allowing students to see the real-world application of science in their everyday activities.
  • Heart Rate Exploration: After engaging in various exercises, students measure their heart rates to learn about the cardiovascular system and the science behind exercise. This activity not only educates them about their bodies, but about the importance of physical fitness in maintaining health.
  • Playground Physics: Utilizing playground equipment, this activity allows students to explore concepts like gravity, force, and motion. They can experience firsthand how these physical laws impact their play and movements, turning the playground into a living laboratory.

As students enter middle school, their capacity for more complex and abstract thinking grows significantly. This developmental stage is an ideal time to introduce more intricate STEM concepts through physical education, enhancing their learning experience with practical applications. The following STEM activities are tailored for middle school students, offering a blend of intellectual challenge and physical engagement. These activities are designed to pique students’ curiosity in STEM fields through the familiar and enjoyable medium of sports and physical exercises. By participating in these activities, students not only deepen their understanding of STEM concepts, but learn valuable lessons in teamwork, problem-solving, and the practical application of classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios. Here’s a look at some stimulating and educational STEM activities for middle school PE:

  • Sports Statistics Analysis: Students gather and analyze sports statistics from games or physical activities. This teaches them about data collection, interpretation, and the importance of statistics in understanding and improving athletic performance.
  • STEM Football: During a lesson in STEM Football, students collect and graph data of a controlled experiment by using a line graph. Students then explain the relationship between kinetic energy and mass by writing a claim evidence supported by evidence-based reasoning from class data. This lesson highlights the strong classroom connection between physical education and STEM learning, and how it can help create tangible examples for students.
  • Energy and Movement: This activity focuses on the concept of kinetic and potential energy in the context of sports. Students explore how energy is transferred and transformed during different physical activities, such as running, jumping, or throwing a ball.
  • Biomechanics of Sports: Here, students delve into the study of human movement and mechanics in various sports. They learn about the science behind athletic performance, injury prevention , and how athletes optimize their movements for maximum efficiency and safety.
  • Mathletics Relay: A relay race where each leg involves solving a math problem before passing the baton. This combines physical fitness with mathematical skills, emphasizing quick thinking and teamwork.
  • Technology in Sports Training: Students explore how technology is increasingly used in sports training and performance analysis. They might look at wearable tech, video analysis software, or other tools that help athletes improve their skills and coaches to make informed decisions.

High school students, with their advanced cognitive skills and heightened interests, are well-positioned to tackle complex STEM challenges through physical education. This section of the curriculum is designed to offer high school learners in-depth, hands-on experiences that combine higher-level STEM concepts with physical activities and sports. These advanced activities are not just about physical exertion; they require students to engage in critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative innovation. They provide an opportunity for students to see the real-world applications of the STEM knowledge they acquire in their classrooms, bridging the gap between theoretical learning and practical implementation. By participating in these activities, high school students can gain a deeper understanding of various STEM fields, such as physics, engineering, biotechnology, and environmental science, observing how these disciplines intersect with sports and physical fitness. Here are some challenging and intellectually stimulating STEM activities designed for high school learners:

  • Physics of Sports Equipment Design: Students research and discuss the physics principles involved in the design of sports equipment. This can include topics like material science, aerodynamics, and ergonomics, providing insights into how equipment is optimized for performance and safety.
  • Engineering a Miniature Golf Course: Students design and construct a miniature golf course, applying concepts of geometry, physics, and design. This project not only involves creativity, but a practical application of STEM principles by creating functional and enjoyable mini-golf holes.
  • Sports Analytics Project: Students undertake a project to analyze a sports game using statistical methods and tools. This activity introduces them to data science in sports, teaching them how to interpret and use data to understand game strategies and player performance.
  • Biotechnology in Athletics: This topic explores how biotechnology is used in sports, from equipment design to performance enhancement techniques. Students might study material innovations, genetic research in athletics, or the ethical implications of biotechnology in sports.
  • Environmental Science in Outdoor Sports: Students analyze how environmental factors impact outdoor sports activities. They can study topics like climate change, pollution, and natural terrain, understanding the interplay between sports and the environment.
  • Virtual Reality Sports Training: Students explore how VR technology is being used for skill development, strategy training, and injury rehabilitation in various sports by discussing the emerging role of virtual reality in sports.

Bringing STEM into PE classes effectively requires the right resources, including technology tools, educational kits, and comprehensive guides. Resources like the STEM Sports® kits provide ready-to-use activities that seamlessly blend physical education with STEM learning. These kits offer an invaluable resource for teachers looking to enrich their curriculum and engage K-8 students through a cross-curricular learning approach. For additional resources, tools, and innovative ideas, please visit STEM Sports® .

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Using Project Based Learning in Physical Education

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Project Based Learning (PBL) often seems best suited for academic subjects, and when it comes to physical education and play, it's difficult to see how PBL fits. But with a closer look at Gold Standard PBL , and some creative planning, projects have a place in the gym or on the ball field as much as they do in the classroom. Here are some ideas and tips.

Ensure that Physical Education Is Happening

One reason PBL is not often brought into PE classes is that it’s difficult to find a way to encourage physical activity while working on a project. It’s easy to think of projects about health and wellness that may connect to PE class – such as “create a plan for a healthy lifestyle” – but those do not typically involve actual physical activity. While it may require some creativity, it is possible to ensure students are getting physically active while problem solving, conducting inquiry, creating a product, and all the other elements of PBL.

In an article from Whole Child , Andrew Miller explained one way this could work. He presented a scenario where high school seniors were given the task of creating PE units for middle school students, with the goal of encouraging the seniors to apply concepts and strategies they learned in their own PE education to create an engaging unit appropriate for middle school students, similar to those the PE teachers themselves would create. As the students focused on effective solutions, they were required to perform the activities in their unit to ensure that exercise and play were encouraged and achieved, and to prove the units would provide an adequate level of activity.

Create a Compelling Problem or Question

The central focus of Gold Standard PBL is giving students a problem or question they have to answer through the project. The problem or question has to go beyond simple knowledge — it needs to require students to apply the knowledge they have gained.

In Miller's example, the high school seniors, through experience and instruction, knew what activity and play looked like. They were also provided instruction on standards from the National Association for Sports and Physical Education that showed measurable ways they could determine if physical activity and appropriate learning were taking place.

Keep the Task Open Ended

Reflection and student voice and choice are crucial parts of PBL. For a PE classroom attempting to include PBL, keeping the challenge or task open ended is essential; this is done best by asking students to craft something new. Instead of simply quoting back knowledge, they will be involved in inquiry and innovation.

Consider a unit that asks students to create a new game for the class. The teacher may have their students include a skill they’re working on to help them practice, such as dribbling the ball, cardio stamina or one of the NASPE standards. The students are then given free rein to experiment and create, designing a game that will incorporate the skill. The open-ended nature of the challenge makes experimentation natural. Similar ideas include planning and conducting an Olympic Games with original events, or designing and using a running course around the campus (or out in the community, if possible) with obstacles or exercise stations with varying levels of challenge.

Use Peer Feedback

Peer feedback works well in the PE classroom. In the example of a student creating a new game, the class can be asked to play the game. This gives the students more physical activity, and also gives the game's creator crucial feedback as to what works and what doesn’t. Revision, another important spoke on the Gold Standard wheel, is often necessary to perfect the game.

Know the Educational Goal

While the student's main goal is to create and present a product, the entire project needs to center on the unit’s educational goal. From the beginning, teachers should have a clear understanding of what they hope to accomplish through the PBL process, whether it’s meeting PE curriculum standards or seeing students excited and engaged by physical activity.

PBL is effective because it involves the students on a deeper level, providing them with real-world skills they can take into college and beyond. Both of these benefits make it worth considering as an addition to the traditional gym class.

Do you have ideas for projects in PE? Make a comment below!

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Implementing PBL in PE Classes

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Many schools have been looking to implement project-based learning, or PBL, for improved student learning. In this instructional approach, students are first presented with a real-world problem or issue with the goal of crafting a solution or response. During the process of developing their response through questioning, research, ideation, and solution building, students develop a host of other essential life skills such as collaboration, leadership and project management.

PBL is a powerful approach to content learning, but does that mean physical education should jump on board as well? Here are a few things to consider.

Project vs. Performance

The vocabulary of project-based learning often gets in the way of using this approach in a variety of settings, especially physical education. PE is about activity and building movement skills with your body and brain, not sitting at a desk working on a project. An easy solution is to insert the word performance every time you encounter the word project . A similar terminology switch can be helpful in music and the arts too.

The language of performance-based assessments is a place to start. What can you ask students to do to demonstrate proficiency? This could be a performance or a product and oftentimes the lines are blurred. For example, acting for a video is a performance, making a speech to local business owners is a performance, even writing a letter to persuade local government officials is a performance.

PBL in the PE Classroom

According to the SHAPEAmerica standards, the goal of physical education is to "develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity."

While this goal certainly does not state one needs to meet standards with a project or PBL, it also does not state play basketball. But basketball is a part of many PE programs because it is a way to help students meet this goal, and more specifically:

  • [demonstrate] competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  • [apply] knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.

PBL offers similar opportunities.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were approved by all member nations in 2015. The 17 SDGs are designed to promote peace and prosperity for all people now and in the future. The third goal, Good Health and Well-Being is perfectly suited to the goals of the Physical Education Curriculum.

Specifically, SDG Goal 3 encourages the world to develop solutions that "ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages." The wording of this goal opens up a range of possibilities for "products" that meet the goals of physical education as well.

For example, students in PE classes could:

  • Develop fitness courses and signage for their school or community.
  • Work with their food service department to design a healthy school lunch menu .
  • Raise awareness and promote mental health.
  • Use 3D printers to construct prosthetic hands for those who can't afford them.
  • Develop PSAs to promote health and safety .
  • Partner with a local sports team to apply their strategies to improving fitness community-wide.

Find Connections to Other Subjects

You might also connect fitness, health, and safety topics to learning in other subjects. For example, physics teachers at Dripping Springs High School in Texas asked students to help improve the free throw percentages of players on their basketball team. Students dissected a specific player's free throw shooting to determine if the issue might be trajectory or force, mapping out the parabola and making physics-based suggestions for improvement.

While this was a physics classroom, PE students can certainly benefit from using properties of physics to improve their own sports performance. Similarly, athletes benefit from knowledge of structure, function, body systems, and nutrition.

Students in history class at South Doyle High School in Tennessee noticed a lack of sidewalks in their community, impacting both safety and possibilities for active lifestyles. After a visit by a city engineer, students quickly learned about budgets and the criteria for constructing new sidewalks.

While PE needs to include physical activity and movement, tackling health requires skills that may not normally shine during a typical PE class. This allows many kids to participate in physical education classes in ways they wouldn't otherwise normally, forming better connections between students and valuing a range of skills for athletic and non-athletic students.

Use Big Ideas to Guide Instructional Design

Any great PBL addresses a big idea and involves an interesting question or challenge to drive student motivation and engagement. Start by considering big ideas and essential questions in physical education, like:

  • How can you take care of yourself?
  • What does it mean to be healthy?
  • What motivates a person to be healthy?

Use the big ideas to drive instructional goals and help you develop more specific questions to drive student work. For example, the essential question of "What does it mean to be physically fit?" can be made into more specific and actionable driving questions like:

  • How can I personally increase and maintain proper fitness?
  • Can I design a game to make fitness or skill practice more fun?
  • How can I motivate someone else to increase and maintain proper fitness?

Even better, kick off a unit by asking that question to students and let them come up with more specific applications and questions to drive their work, boosting motivation, engagement, ownership and responsibility.

PE Educators as PBL Leaders

Connecting PBL to the content area of physical education may not be obvious, but it is easy to connect the pedagogy of the PE teachers. I might even argue that many sites implement PBL in order to make core learning a lot more like the experience students have in PE!

PE teachers are uniquely qualified to support a PBL approach. Why? Consider David Perkins's statement, "You don't learn to play baseball by a year of batting practice." In his book, Making Learning Whole , Perkins describes the often " elementis " nature of academics, where students are taught individual pieces (rules, theories, and procedures) with the promise that they will learn them later in high school or college.

Physical education doesn't ask students to wait, students learn to play sports, not just develop specific sports skills. While students may practice skills, they are quickly applied and learned more deeply through playing the whole game and in doing so:

  • make the game worth playing,
  • provide obvious reasons to work on the hard parts,
  • play out of town (use it in different contexts),
  • help reveal the hidden game, and
  • learn from the team (social, interactive, and interdependent).

Grant Wiggins words it similarly:

"In athletics this is very clear: the game is the curriculum; the game is the teacher. And each game is different (even as helpful patterns emerge). Knowledge about the game is secondary, an offshoot of learning to play the game well. As I learn to play, knowledge — about rules, strategy, and technique — accrues, but it is not the point."

This doesn't mean "gamify" the classroom, but being clear that the goal of classroom learning isn't knowledge about a subject, but using that knowledge in order to actively think like a mathematician, inquire like a scientist, or work as a historian.

Instead of asking PE teachers to implement PBL, consider asking them to coach and model a more performance-based approach to learning for the ELA, math, science, and social studies teachers working to take a PBL approach to learning.

In Conclusion

Before you ask physical education classes to implement PBL, consider the goals of PBL and the nature of physical education. By asking PE teachers to implement classroom projects, we can actually encourage them to move away from the student-centered, powerful nature of PBL by moving to an " aboutis " form of learning where students end up telling us about a sport without "taking part in the processes that created that knowledge."

PBL does, however, provide powerful opportunities for students to become physically literate, understanding the benefits of involvement in physical activity and understanding how it contributes to overall health.

Melinda Kolk

by Melinda Kolk

Melinda Kolk ( @melindak ) is the Editor of Creative Educator and the author of Teaching with Clay Animation . She has been helping educators implement project-based learning and creative technologies like clay animation into classroom teaching and learning for the past 15 years.

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How to Teach Gymnastics

When teaching Gymnastics in Physical Education lessons, it is helpful to have a range of activities, teaching models and styles in the toolbox to help ensure students make great progress. Gymnastics lessons can be delivered in a range of ways depending upon the age, group size, resources available and your level of experience.

If teaching lower Elementary (Primary/KS1) you may want to opt for a range of simple warm-up activities that emphasize developing knowledge of basic shapes and positions before moving into basic exploratory activities with apparatus (see ‘Routines’ activity below), e.g., “Who can show me 5 creative ways of travelling along the bench?”. For upper Elementary (Primary/KS2) students can explore creating gymnastics sequences starting with mats only, then gradually including more and more apparatus each week. For Middle-School students you may want to challenge students to refine their gymnastics techniques and to create sequences with a partner could include: an individual balance – a roll – a jump – a travelling movement – and a group balance.

Below are a few Gymnastics activities, an example skill card and lesson plan from our ‘Full Gymnastics Pack’ that you can use in your lessons.

Activity: Routines

Standard Post with Image

  • EQUIPMENT: Mats, various apparatus
  • SPACE: Large open space
  • DURATION: 10-15 mins
  • GROUPINGS: 2-3s

Description: Pupils are in pairs or groups of three and are assigned a mat or station each. Teacher sets them a challenge to create a simple routine, such as “travel, balance, roll, flight, balance”. Pupils work with their groups to create a routine, using their best skill in each movement. Pupils can initially start with just mats, then progress to having a bench, then a table etc.

Teaching Points

  • Take turns performing the sequence
  • Share ideas and encourage good technique
  • Look for ways to make the sequence flow
  • Pupils must make a simple routine that includes three balances and movements to get into and out of balances
  • Individual sequence incorporating each of the 3 rolls
  • What movements can you use to create this sequence?
  • How can you move smoothly from one movement to another?
  • Why did you choose those particular movement in your sequence?

Activity: Stuck in the Mud with Gymnastics Shapes

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  • EQUIPMENT: Pinnies and Mats
  • DURATION: 3-6 mins
  • GROUPINGS: Whole Class

Description: Classic game of tag – select 3-5 taggers which will be wearing pinnies. The rest of the class must try and avoid being tagged. If tagged students have to adopt the pre-chosen gymnastics shape/position which was discussed before the game begin. For example, a star shape, front support, dish position, tuck etc. Pupils must also know how to set the person free i.e., can they crawl under, jump over, run around twice etc. Play each round for 2-3 minutes, and introduce different shapes and balances. Alternatively, each tagger can represent a different shape e.g., if tagged by the blue tagger then a star shape must be held, red tagger equals a back support position.

  • Run lightly on the balls of your feet
  • Maintain a strong, neutral spine
  • Watch out for others when rescuing a tagged player
  • What position must you hold when tagged? What should it look like?
  • How can you avoid being tagged?
  • Why is body tension important when making shapes?

Activity: Alphabet Challenge

Standard Post with Image

  • GROUPINGS: 1-2

Description: Pupils listen carefully to the teacher’s commands. On “go” they run around the room on the balls of their feet. When the teacher calls a letter i.e., “Show me the letter ‘B’”, pupils will lie on the floor (or on nearest available mat) and position their body to make that particular letter. Challenge them to make the letter quickly (e.g., 10 seconds or less). To progress, have pupils work in pairs or groups of 3, playing the same game.

Top Tip: Use this game to link to one of your learning objectives e.g., by spelling ‘tension’ or ‘cartwheel’ etc.

  • Run around on balls of feet
  • Respond quickly to the teacher’s commands
  • Demonstrate good body control and tension
  • How difficult was it to make a shape in such a short amount of time?
  • What did you feel when you were unable to make the shape in time?
  • Which characteristics are important for being resilient?

Activity: Gymnastics Sequence Challenges

Standard Post with Image

  • EQUIPMENT: Mats, Benches, Other Gymnastics Apparatus
  • DURATION: 10-25 mins
  • GROUPINGS: Pairs

Description: Pupils work in pairs and have a matted area each. Set students a challenge of producing a gymnastics sequence or routine e.g., Balance – Rotation – Flight – Travel – Balance (write this on a board, or provide on a piece of paper). Students can either create the same routine or have different ones. Either way, students help each other and share ideas. They should be encouraged to demonstrate their best/most difficult skill for each. Similar to the exploration challenges activity, use the four stages: 1) Explore 2) Share 3) Refine 4) Showcase.

Start off by setting students the challenge with only a mat each. As they progress, add apparatus (one at time) to their station, as they develop and refine their routine. This is a great way to get pupils focused on completing tasks to a high-level and staying focused. You can let students know that those that are on-task and working the hardest will have first-choice of which piece of apparatus they would like to use.

  • Demonstrate good posture, strong shapes and body tension
  • Flow smoothly from one move to the next
  • Use both high and low levels to make performance interesting
  • Why is it important to flow seamlessly from one move to the next?
  • What can you include in your routine to make it interesting for the observer?
  • How is body tension used to show control in your/partner’s routine?

Skill Card: Single Leg Balances

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Skill Card: Group Balances

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Skill Cards: When teaching Gymnastics it can be extremely useful for students to use skill cards to deepen their understanding of both simple and complex skills. For example, when trying to teach students how to perform single-leg or group balances they could use the above skill cards to explore the balances on their own or in small groups. This is an example of a 'Reciprocal Teaching Style' which you can learn more about in our 'Teaching Styles' article.

Standard Post with Image

Would you like more Gymnastics activities? Download the Full Gymnastics Pack for a great range of Gymnastics activities that are appropriate for using in PE lessons. Our pack will help you deliver high-quality Gymnastics lessons for Phys Ed! It has been developed by highly-qualified and experienced PE teachers for specialists and non-specialists alike who want to deliver the best Gymnastics lessons where students can make exceptional progress.

In the Full Gymnastics Pack by the PE Project you will find:

  • Gymnastics activities
  • Skill Cards
  • Lesson Plans
  • Assessment Criteria for Elementary and Middle-School
  • Non-doer sheets
  • Plus lots of additional extras like questions, teaching recommendations, differentiation strategies.

The Ultimate Gymnastics Pack

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  • Project-Based Learning and Physical Education: An interview with Jordan Manley [Interactive]

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[0:02] Aaron: Project-based learning, it seems to be all the buzz and education, but what is it really and how does it fit with physical education?

[0:35] Jordan: I am with Jordan Manley from the Steam Academy in Lexington Kentucky today, and I want to just introduce Jordan and talk a little bit about his PE Program, Jordan tell us a little bit about yourself.

[0:46] Well, I’m a Lexington Kentucky native, 29 years old, been married for five years and I have a 19-month-old daughter at home. I love you know just being active, learning new things. Recently I learned how to ski and I work as the health and physical education teacher at a project-based learning school called Steam Academy.

How to use project-based learning in physical education

[1:06] Aaron: So you mentioned project-based learning, can you describe how that fits into your PE philosophy and how it fits into the overall school environment?

[1:14] Jordan: We are a project-based learning school which means we have a focus on inquiry-designed learning. This model takes students away from the comprehension of concepts and has them dive deeper into the development of the skills so that they can comprehend any concept. We do this through lots of projects, there’s a lot of student choice involved. We might present one question and end up with 10 different answers to that question, depending on the class, whether it’s math, science, english, social studies or even the PE classroom.

[1:56] So the way that this fits in with my PE classroom is we have to ask ourselves what are the major concepts that we want our students to be able to understand? What are the major skills that we want our students to be able to understand to be able to do? We frame those within the context of an inquiry. Through that inquiry across a week or two weeks, students will complete some formative assignments here and there doing some research outside of class on their devices that are our school allows them to use, and then they present to us a product through a performance assessment.

[2:34] Within this performance assessment, I can assess whether or not a student has comprehended the concepts, but also if they’ve been able to apply these soft skills or success skills that so many schools talk about developing: leadership, communication, collaboration. So we allow that model to direct our working in PE so that students can get deeper learning rather than just the physical activity that happens in the class.

Project-based learning example

[3:06] Aaron: This is fascinating. So, can you give us an example of how this might play out in real-time and physical education class?

[3:13] Jordan: Sure, so one thing that I’ve done is I’ve given my students the task of game creation. This is something that we do as physical educators. Not only do we beg, borrow, and steal from other people on the internet, but we also force ourselves to iterate new ideas and create new activities in our classroom. So I give that task to my students, as well as a way of them demonstrating their learning and applying the content of the class. This can be used in modified sports games. I’ve done it before, where they have to create a fitness game and before they have to create their fitness game, I give them several examples of what a fitness game looks like. They have open access to all of the equipment in my closets, but the reason I like this is because not only are they applying the content knowledge of the PE classroom to the project that they are creating, it also forces them to work together in collaboration. They have to develop communication and leadership skills so these things happen naturally in anyway, but this is a way more direct way of teaching them that they have to work together if they want to produce something good.

[4:25] Aaron: Wow, thank you for sharing this Jordan and as you listen, we hope this generates some ideas that you can use project-based learning in your physical education classrooms. THRIVE

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Cap N' Pete's Power PE

  • Pete Charrette

18 Top PE Activities for Dynamic Physical Education Classes

Imagine a classroom where every student is engaged, energized, and eager to learn. This isn't a fantasy—it's a regular day in a well-designed physical education program. Studies have shown that students who participate in regular physical activity exhibit improved attention, faster cognitive processing speed, and better academic performance overall. But the benefits of physical education extend far beyond the classroom walls, deeply influencing students' physical, social, and emotional health. Through PE, students learn the importance of staying active, working as a team, and setting personal health goals.

18 Top PE Activities for Dynamic Physical Education Classes

In the diverse world of PE, activities range from dynamic warm-ups that get hearts racing, to skill development movements that focus on precision and coordination, to small group games that teach the value of cooperation and spirited competition. They cater to warming up young muscles, developing essential motor skills, fostering teamwork, and improving overall fitness. But the benefits don't stop at physical health; these activities are instrumental in teaching students about cooperation, respect, and the value of setting and achieving personal goals.

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My goal with this article is to equip PE teachers, professionals, and even classroom teachers with a diverse toolkit of PE activities. Whether you're looking to energize your students at the start of a class, build their fitness levels, or foster a spirit of teamwork, I've curated a list of 18 top PE activities, neatly categorized for ease of use. These activities are designed to be adaptable, ensuring that regardless of your students' ages or abilities, you can create a dynamic learning environment that motivates and inspires.

So, let's dive into this collection of engaging, dynamic PE activities designed to energize, educate, and inspire both you and your students. Together, we can transform the physical education experience, one activity at a time.

Click the link to skip to a section:

Section 1: Instant Activities

Section 2. tag games, section 3. fitness-based movement activities, section 4. pe equipment - skill challenges, section 5: pe stations, section 6. small group games.

Section 7. Final Thoughts

Instant Activities for PE Classes

Instant activities are designed to energize students right at the beginning of a PE class, immediately engaging them in physical activity. These activities serve as quick warm-ups, helping to transition students from an academic mindset to a physical education environment with minimal downtime. The key is to captivate students' attention and get them moving as soon as they enter the PE space, setting a dynamic tone for the rest of the session. Instant activities work well with younger students that need quick and easy movement experiences to start their physical education classes.

Key Benefits:

Quick Setup:  Most activities require little to no preparation, allowing for immediate start.

Minimal Equipment:  Simplifies organization and facilitates a swift transition into physical activity.

Immediate Student Engagement:  Captures students' attention from the moment they enter the PE area, promoting enthusiasm and readiness for the day’s lesson.

Instant Activity 1: Four Corner Fitness

Overview:  Four Corner Fitness is a circuit-style activity that gets students moving around the gym's four corners, each corner offering a new exercise challenge. By incorporating varied locomotor movements for transitions, this activity adds an element of excitement and unpredictability, keeping students engaged and active throughout.

Equipment Needed:  8 cones, signs indicating exercises and locomotor movements (laminated for durability), stopwatch or timer.

Instant Activity 1: Four Corner Fitness


Arrange 8 cones in the gym's four corners, placing two in each corner.

Attach signs to each cone - one sign for the exercise to be performed in that corner and another for the locomotor movement needed to get to the next corner.

At the start signal, students begin with the designated locomotor movement towards the first corner.

At each corner, students perform the indicated exercise for 20-30 seconds.

After completing the exercise, students proceed to the next corner using the locomotor movement indicated on the next sign.

The activity continues for 5-10 minutes, encouraging endurance and agility as students complete the circuit around the four corners.

Instant Activity 2: Sports Mania

Overview:  Sports Mania turns the gym into a dynamic playground where students practice transporting various sports equipment from one corner of the gym to the next. This activity is not only a lot of fun but also helps students familiarize themselves with different sports equipment and the basic skills associated with each.

Equipment Needed:  A variety of sports equipment (basketballs, soccer balls, beanbags, hockey sticks, paddleball rackets, scarves, beach balls, balloons, footballs), cones to mark the corners.

Instant Activity 2: Sports Mania

Spread assorted sports equipment in the gym's corners.

As students enter, they head to the nearest corner and select a piece of equipment.

Designate specific locomotor movements for transporting the equipment to the next corner (e.g., dribble basketballs, balance beanbags on the head).

Students continue moving equipment from corner to corner, experimenting with different items and movements.

Continue for a set time, encouraging students to try as many different types of equipment and movements as possible.

Instant Activity 3: Build it, Wreck it

Overview:  "Build it Wreck it" is an exciting and dynamic activity that encourages students to engage in various locomotor movements around the gym. The objective is to either set cones upright (building) or knock them over (wrecking), fostering a playful environment that promotes physical fitness and spatial awareness.

Equipment Needed:  20 – 50 cones (any size - different colors), music for cues.

Instant Activity 3: Build it, Wreck it

Scatter cones randomly across the gym floor.

Assign students to "home teams" based on cone color and review locomotor movements and safety.

On the musical cue, students move to flip over opposing teams' cones while keeping their own team's cones upright.

A student cannot touch the same cone twice in a row.

The team with the most upright cones at the end of the set time wins.

Change the locomotor movement (e.g., hopping, skipping, sliding, etc.) every 1-3 minutes to keep the activity fresh and challenging.

Click the link to view this 25 Instant Activity Set on Cap'n Pete's website store  or here on Teachers Pay Teacher s .

Tag Games for PE Classes

Kids love tag games and they are a staple in physical education for a good reason. They combine the thrill of the chase with the benefits of quick sprints, agile dodging, and strategic play. By incorporating tag games (like bridge tag or blob tag) into your PE classes, you’re not just getting students to run around; you’re inviting them to think on their feet, work as a team, and develop a keen sense of spatial awareness—all while having a blast.

Speed and Agility:  Enhances quick movements and "on the fly" decision making.

Spatial Awareness:  Helps in understanding and utilizing space effectively.

Teamwork:  Strengthens cooperation among students.

Fair Play:  Promotes respect for rules and each other.

Tag Game 1: Fitness Collection Agency (FCA)

Overview:  Students work in pairs to collect, save, protect, and capture cones to their hula hoop (collection area), blending strategy with physical activity.

Equipment Needed:  6 dome cones or beanbags and 1 hula hoop per pair

Tag Game 1: Fitness Collection Agency (FCA)

Group classes in partners, each pair with 6 dome cones or beanbags and 1 hula hoop.

The dome cones or beanbags are placed inside the hula hoop.

Students decide whether they will be a collector or a protector.

On a cue (preferably music), collectors try to obtain as many cones as possible and return them to their collection hoop.

One cone at a time can be captured by a collector, and the protector's job is to tag players trying to get their cones, standing with both feet in the hoop.

If a student is tagged, they must return the cone, perform 5 or 10 pushups or jumping jacks off to the side, and then return to the game.

Tag Game 2: Safe Zone Tag

Overview:  Students aim to avoid being tagged by a yarn ball while traveling around the playing area in various ways. The game encourages agility, quick decision-making, and offers a fun, dynamic approach to tagging and dodging skills.

Equipment Needed:  4 – 8 hula hoops for safe zones and yarn balls for 20% of the students to use as tagging tools.

Tag Game 2: Safe Zone Tag

Scatter 4 – 8 hula hoops around the playing area as safe zones and distribute yarn balls to approximately 20% of the students, who will act as taggers. Switch taggers every few minutes to keep the game dynamic.

Review all locomotor movements and tagging safety with students before starting.

On a musical cue, all students start moving using a teacher-designated locomotor movement. Non-taggers aim to avoid taggers, using hula hoops as temporary safe zones.

Only one player can occupy a safe zone (hula hoop) at a time. If a new player enters, the one inside must leave immediately (first in, first out rule).

If two players enter a hula hoop simultaneously, both must exit.

Tagged students perform a designated task, like running a half-lap outside the playing area or doing a set exercises, before rejoining the game.

Tag Game 3: Predator Tag

Overview:  Predator Tag is an engaging game that simulates the predator-prey relationship, with students trying to tag or steal flags from their "prey" while avoiding their "predators." This game not only encourages physical agility and speed but also strategic thinking and teamwork.

Equipment Needed:  Scrimmage vests or belts with flags (or juggling scarves) in three different colors to distinguish teams.

Tag Game 3: Predator Tag

Assign students to one of three teams, each identified by a specific color of scrimmage vests, flags, or juggling scarves, and have them scatter throughout the playing area.

Initiate movement with a teacher-directed locomotor movement, setting the game in motion. Each team has a specific target: Green tags blue, blue tags red, and red tags yellow, with each team being both predator and prey.

Introduce a variety of locomotor movements throughout the game to challenge different skills.

Players tagged or whose flags are stolen must sit or perform a designated balance/stretch/exercise in a designated holding area until a teammate gives them a high five, allowing them to re-enter the game.

Freed players can then rejoin the game, continuing to tag or avoid being tagged according to their team's role.

Check out this 25 Tag Game Set on Cap'n Pete's website store or here on Teachers Pay Teachers .

Fitness-Based Movement Activities for PE Classes

Incorporating fitness-based movement activities into PE classes is key to promoting a holistic approach to student health. These muscle strengthening activities, designed to also elevate heart rates and increase flexibility, go beyond the immediate fun and excitement to lay a foundation for lifelong health and fitness habits. By integrating these into your curriculum, you're not just teaching students how to move but also why movement matters for their overall well-being.

Cardiovascular Health:  Regular participation improves heart health and endurance.

Muscle Strength:  Activities target various muscle groups, enhancing overall strength.

Flexibility:  Encourages a range of motion, reducing the risk of injuries and improving performance.

Locomotor Movement:  Promotes fundamental movement skills, improving coordination and agility.

Fitness Activity 1: Pacer - Rapid Fire

Overview:   The PACER (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run) Challenge is a dynamic activity designed for large classes or groups, utilizing the classic PACER test format to enhance cardiovascular fitness. Participants alternate running between end and side lines of a court, ideally set at PACER distances of 15 or 20 meters apart, promoting endurance and speed.

Equipment Needed:   The activity requires two sets of PACER lines or side/end lines on a basketball court and Fitnessgram PACER recording cues to guide the pacing of the activity.

Fitness Activity 1: Pacer - Rapid Fire

Students are divided into groups at either the end line or sideline of a court, or at two sets of PACER lines.

After reviewing PACER instructions and emphasizing safe, straight-line movement, the activity begins with a starting cue (beep or bell).

The first group runs from one end line to the opposite on the cue, followed by the next group running from one sideline to the other on the second beep.

Groups alternate running back and forth, following the PACER beeps.

Halfway through, based on age group criteria (e.g., at 25 for 4th graders), groups switch from end to side lines to vary the running pattern.

To add variety, the type of locomotor movement can be changed for each run.

Fitness Activity 2: Fitness BLASTS

Overview:   Fitness BLASTS challenge students with task card activities that cover a broad range of health and skill-related fitness movements. Designed for small groups, this activity promotes teamwork, engagement, and offers a well-rounded workout experience as students aim to complete all exercises on a task card before moving on to the next one.

Equipment Needed:  Y ou'll need Fitness BLAST sheets with 4 to 8 varied exercises that include strength training and aerobic movements, laminating materials to ensure the sheets can withstand repeated use, and cones, hula hoops, or wall space to display the laminated sheets throughout the gym or classroom.

Fitness Activity 2: Fitness BLASTS

Divide students into small groups or pairs and assign them to start at a specific Fitness BLAST card.

Each group works through the exercises listed on their card, ensuring every member completes all exercises. Group members can perform different exercises simultaneously to finish faster.

After completing all tasks on their card, groups change Fitness BLAST task cards and resume movement performing different exercises on the next card.

Fitness Activity 3: Power Shuttle Fitness

Overview:   Power Shuttle Fitness is a dynamic activity that combines fast-paced shuttle relays with a comprehensive mix of exercises. Students will engage in locomotor movements, cardiovascular training, strength exercises, plyometrics, flexibility routines, and manipulative skills, all within a single, energetic session.

Equipment Needed:   The setup requires a designated area like a basketball court or field, with equipment for mid-point exercises including jump ropes, hula hoops, resistance bands, and balls. Cones or markers are also needed to delineate the start, midpoint, and endpoints of the relay.

Fitness Activity 3: Power Shuttle Fitness

Divide the class into small groups of 3-4 students, arranging them in lines at opposite ends of the court or field.

At the signal, the first student in line performs a teacher-directed locomotor movement towards the midpoint of the relay course.

Upon reaching the midpoint, they complete a predetermined exercise or movement, utilizing the available equipment.

After the midpoint exercise, they continue to the opposite end of the course and give a high-five to their waiting teammate, signaling the next person to start their relay.

While waiting, students on the sidelines engage in dynamic stretches, yoga poses, or balance exercises to stay active.

The activity is continuous, with teammates taking turns completing the relay and the exercises.

Here are 25 "Start Me Up" Fitness Warm up Activities on Cap'n Pete's website store  or here on Teachers Pay Teachers .

PE Equipment - Skill Challenges for Physical Education Classes

Skill challenges utilizing PE equipment are pivotal in developing a student's hand-eye coordination, balance, and fine motor skills. These challenges are not only about mastering the equipment but also about enhancing cognitive and physical coordination. By engaging in these activities, students learn to control and manipulate various tools, from balls and hoops to ropes, which contributes to their overall physical development and introduces them to a broad spectrum of sports and activities.

Key Benefits

Enhances Motor Skills:  Improves fine motor skills, agility, and control through targeted activities.

Coordination and Control:  Through focused challenges, students learn to manage their movements with greater skill and efficiency.

Introduces New Equipment and Techniques:  Expands students' experience and familiarity with a range of PE equipment, fostering a versatile skill set.

PE Challenge Activity 1: Hula Hoop Challenges

Overview:  This activity encourages students to engage in a series of personal challenge tasks involving twirling, spinning, and balancing with a hula hoop. Designed to be self-guided, it allows students to work at their own pace, promoting self-improvement and persistence in mastering various hula hoop techniques.

Equipment Needed:  A hula hoop for each student, or one hula hoop to share between two students if there are not enough hoops available.

PE Challenge Activity 1: Hula Hoop Challenges (Twirling)

Prepare challenge sheets that outline a series of tasks with the hula hoop. These tasks should become progressively more challenging, allowing students to advance at their own pace.

Distribute a hula hoop and a challenge sheet to each student. Encourage them to work through the tasks on the challenge sheet, which may include:

PE Challenge Activity 1: Hula Hoop Challenges (Spins)

Twirling the hoop around their waist, neck, arm, one leg, and both legs.

Rotating the hoop on the ground like a spinning top and then performing various tasks while it rotates, such as touching the closest wall or holding a plank position.

Balancing the hoop on different parts of their body.

Walking through the hoop while it is on the ground.Introduce partner activities with the hoop for added fun and collaboration. These can include passing the hoop between partners without using hands or rolling the hoop and running through it while it is in motion.

PE Challenge Activity 2: Jump Rope Challenges

Overview:  Jump Rope Challenges offer students a variety of personal challenge tasks that involve turning and jumping over an individual jump rope. This self-guided activity is structured to allow students to progress at their own pace, fostering a sense of achievement as they develop and refine their jump rope skills.

PE Challenge Activity 2: Jump Rope Challenges (Basic Jumps)

Equipment Needed:  A short jump rope for each student, or jump ropes to be shared between pairs if there are limited resources.

Create challenge sheets listing a variety of jump rope tasks. Arrange these tasks in order of difficulty to provide a gradual learning curve.

Hand out a jump rope and a challenge sheet to each student. Guide them to start with simpler tasks and advance to more complex challenges. Task examples include:

PE Challenge Activity 2: Jump Rope Challenges

Turning the rope in wide circles around the body above the head, known as the "helicopter," and around the waist, termed the "washing machine."

Switching the rope from one side of the body to the other in a swift motion, referred to as "Ninja," and performing a figure-eight motion, stepping through the loop in a "step-through" maneuver.

Basic jump rope skills like jumping forwards and backwards with both feet, hopping on one foot forwards and backwards, and executing a jogging step in both directions.

More advanced jump rope tricks such as the "skier" (jumping side to side), "bell jump" (jumping forwards and backwards), "spread eagle" (jumping with legs apart and together), "twister" (twisting the hips side to side), "scissor jump" (alternating front and back leg positions), and the "straddle" (jumping with legs wide and together).

PE Challenge Activity 3: Scarf/Grocery Bag Challenges

Overview:  Scarf/Grocery Bag Challenges present students with a unique opportunity to refine their hand-eye coordination through a series of tossing and catching tasks, simultaneously incorporating other movements. This self-guided activity is designed for students to progress at their own pace, encouraging persistence and skill development in various scarf and bag tossing techniques.

PE Challenge Activity 3: Scarf/Grocery Bag Challenges - 1 Scarf

Equipment Needed:  Each student will need 1 or 2 juggling scarves or lightweight grocery bags. If resources are limited, these can be shared between partners.

Create challenge sheets detailing a sequence of progressively challenging tasks involving the scarves or bags. Ensure the tasks encourage students to develop their tossing and catching skills while also integrating additional movements.

Hand out a scarf or bag along with a challenge sheet to each student. Guide them to attempt the tasks listed, which may include:

PE Challenge Activity 3: Scarf/Grocery Bag Challenges - 2 Scarves

Tossing and catching the scarf or bag straight up and down, and across the body in a "rainbow toss."

Performing specific actions before catching, such as tossing the item and then touching their shoulder, foot, the ground, or spinning around.

Tossing and catching the item with added challenges, like clapping, sitting down, tossing under their leg, lying down, or rolling before the catch.

To incorporate social interaction and teamwork, introduce partner activities. These could involve tossing and catching between partners, mirroring movements, or creating a sequence of throws and catches to perform together.

Check out this Super Challenge Series- PE Skills Edition - 26 Challenge Sheet Set on Cap'n Pete's website store  or here on Teachers Pay Teachers .

PE Stations for Physical Education

PE stations are an excellent way to organize physical education classes to maximize student engagement, skill development, and participation. By setting up different stations around the gym or outdoor area, students can rotate through a variety of activities, each focusing on different physical skills or challenges. This format not only keeps students active and reduces downtime but also caters to diverse interests and skill levels within the class.

Diverse Skill Development:  Each station can focus on a different skill, ensuring students receive a well-rounded physical education.

Engagement:  With multiple activities happening simultaneously, students are less likely to become bored or disengaged.

Personalized Learning:  Stations can be tailored to challenge students at their individual skill levels, promoting personal growth.

Station Activity 1: Cup Stacking

Overview:  Cup Stacking is an engaging and dynamic station activity designed to improve students' motor coordination and speed. Tasked with the rapid construction and deconstruction of stacking cup pyramids, students engage in a playful yet challenging exercise that enhances dexterity and concentration.

Equipment Needed:  Each student, pair or small group needs 9 plastic cups for the station activities.

PE Station Activity 1: Cup Stacking

Each student, or students in a group station, begins with 9 cups.

The task is to build three pyramids, each consisting of three cups.

Once the pyramids are constructed, students must then de-stack the cups back into single stacks as quickly as possible.

Introduce a competitive and self-improvement element by having students time each other's upstack and downstack process, encouraging them to improve their speed with each attempt.

Increase the challenge for by having them create different pyramid configurations or by increasing the number of cups per pyramid.

Station Activity 2: Ball Handling Skills

Overview:  This station focuses on enhancing students' ball handling skills through diverse and engaging exercises, aimed at improving coordination, dexterity, and ball technique mastery.

Equipment Needed:  Basketballs or playground balls suitable for the age and skill level of the students.

Station Activity 2: Ball Handling Skills

Students begin with overhead taps to develop hand control and fluid motion.

They practice the rainbow toss, moving the ball in an arc from one hand to the other across the body.

They circle the ball around the waist, then legs, then head, maintaining grip throughout.

They perform a figure 8 dribble between the legs to boost coordination.

They try spinning the ball on one finger for balance and focus.

Students are encouraged to invent and try out their own ball handling exercises.

Station Activity 3: Javelin (Pool Noodle) Throw

Overview: The Javelin Throw station uses pool noodles to safely introduce students to the track and field event, focusing on developing throwing technique and upper body strength. It incorporates a friendly competitive element as students strive to achieve the farthest throw.

Equipment Needed:  This station requires one pool noodle, a designated line for students to throw from, and an optional measuring tape for recording distances.

Station Activity 3: Javelin (Pool Noodle) Throw

Students line up behind a set throwing line.

Taking turns, they throw the noodle as far as they can, focusing on proper form to mimic a javelin throw.

After each throw, distances can be compared to encourage a bit of friendly competition among participants.

Encourage each student to aim to beat their own personal best with each subsequent throw, fostering a sense of personal achievement and progress.

Click the link to view this large grouping of PE Stations: Triple Pack Bundle- 132 Movement, Skill and Sport Zones on Cap'n Pete's website store  or here on Teachers Pay Teachers .

Small Group Games for PE Classes

Small group PE games provide a unique opportunity for students to engage in more intimate and cooperative/competitive gameplay (i.e. small group crab soccer vs. regular soccer). These games are designed to enhance teamwork, communication, and social skills, as well as physical abilities. Small group settings allow for more individualized attention from teachers and can be particularly effective in developing specific skills or concepts.

Teamwork and Cooperation:  Students learn to work together, developing social and cooperative skills that are essential beyond the PE class.

Focused Skill Development:  With fewer participants, games can be tailored to target specific skills or areas of improvement.

Strategic Thinking:  Engaging in games that require strategy encourages students to think critically and make quick decisions.

Small Group Game 1: Pin Ball

Overview:  Pin Ball is a dynamic team PE game where players collaborate to toss a foam ball or flying disc to knock down the opposing team's bowling pin situated at their court's end. The game emphasizes essential physical skills such as throwing and catching, fostering teamwork and strategic play.

Equipment Needed:  Each small group needs one ball, which can be a yarn ball, foam ball, or Frisbee. The playing area or court is marked off with 4 cones or gym lines. At each end of the court, place 2 hula hoops, and within each hula hoop, set up a bowling pin or an empty 2-liter bottle to serve as the target.

PE Small Group Game 1: Pin Ball

Game Instructions and Rules:

Two teams are spread out each within their court section, with 3 vs. 3 or 4 vs. 4 being optimal team sizes.

The game starts with one team holding the ball, aiming to pass it along their court and shoot to topple the pin within the opposing team's hoop.

Players in possession of the ball are restricted from moving with it but may pivot and take one step towards their aim (either a teammate or the pin), without progressing up the court.

Only "complete" passes allow a team to maintain possession. If the ball hits the ground, the opposing team gains possession from that spot.

Physical contact is prohibited in the game, especially on defense.

A team earns 1 point by successfully making passes that lead to a shot knocking down the opposition's pin.

The game is played for a predetermined duration or until a team reaches "10 points" first.

Small Group Game 2: Rescue Me

Equipment Needed:  For "Rescue Me," you'll need several balls such as footballs, Nerf balls, and Frisbees for each playing group. The playing area is outlined with cones or lines to mark playing areas and end zones, accommodating small groups of 12 – 16 players or 6 – 8 per team. Balls are evenly dispersed on both sides of the playing area, which is divided by a mid-line with two end-zone lines set approximately 30 to 50 feet apart.

Small Group Game 2: Rescue Me

Teams divide their members, positioning half on their side of the playing area and the other half behind the opposing team’s end zone.

The objective is to "rescue" teammates from the opposite end zone by throwing them a ball that they must catch completely in the air.

Once a player in the end zone catches a ball, they must throw it back across the mid-line to their teammates in their home playing area.

A player is considered "rescued" if they make a successful catch in the end zone and then throw the ball back across the mid-line to be caught by a teammate in their home playing area.

Rescued players join their team and continue playing in the home court/field, aiding in the rescue of the remaining players.

The game continues with balls not caught being thrown back to either playing area, and the process repeats.

Victory is achieved when all members of a team have been successfully rescued.

Small Group Game 3: Catch Ball

Overview:  Catch Ball is a team game where groups work together to make a playground ball bounce twice within the opposing team's court, emphasizing skills in both throwing and catching.

Equipment Needed:  Each small group of 8 to 12 students needs one playground ball. Court boundaries can be marked with gym lines or small cones indoors, or playground chalk for outdoor play. Two square or rectangular courts are set opposite each other, with a serving line marked at the back right corner of each court.

Small Group Game 3: Catch Ball

Players distribute themselves within their court.

The game initiates with a serve from the back right corner into the opposing team's court. The serve must cross the mid-line.

The goal is to have the ball bounce twice within the opponent's court. A ball that bounces once or is dropped and then bounces once before being caught remains in play.

If a ball is thrown to the opposite side, bounces once, and then exits the court bounds, the serving team earns a point.

Should the ball bounce twice in a team's own court before crossing over, the opposing team scores a point. The serving right rotates through each team member after each point.

While the ball is live, players may pass it among teammates before it crosses to the opposing side. However, if it is dropped and bounces twice, the opposing team scores. The ball is allowed to bounce once during live play.

Teachers or student referees are advised to vocally count "ONE" upon the first bounce as a reminder to players.

Here are 25 "Dynamic" Small Group Breakout Games/Activities on Cap'n Pete's website store  or here on Teachers Pay Teachers .

Final Thoughts

Wrapping up this journey through a diverse array of PE activities, it’s clear how vital variety is in our physical education curriculums. Each activity presented not only serves a broad spectrum of interests and learning objectives but also highlights the flexibility and innovation essential in meeting our students’ diverse needs. From the instant energy boosters to strategic tag games, and from skill-sharpening challenges to collaborative small group games, our mission remains steadfast: to nurture comprehensive physical and social skills that empower students for a lifetime.

18 Fun PE Activities

I invite my fellow PE teachers and professionals to see these activities as gateways to inspiration, learning, and adaptation. With a dash of creativity and some thoughtful tweaking, you can customize these activities to fit various ages, skill levels, and equipment availabilities, ensuring every student finds their stride.

Most importantly, physical education plays a pivotal role in fostering a lifelong appreciation for health and fitness. By creating an environment where physical activity is both fun and rewarding, we’re setting the foundation for our students to lead active, healthy lives long into the future. Let's continue to be inventive, engaging, and supportive, showing our students the boundless possibilities that physical education offers.

A Cool Free Resource!

Do you need some FREE PE skill-based challenge visuals? Do you need an organized task sheet set that has top of the line graphics and font? If so, Cap'n Pete's Power PE has you covered! Each task sheet consists of 6 manipulative skill-based challenges (1 sheet for beanbags, balloons, hula hoops, jump ropes, playground balls, and juggling scarves) that progressively get more difficult as the students work through the tasks. !

REE PE skill-based challenge visuals

Fill in the form below to download this FREE Super Challenges - PE Skills: Visual Card Set with 6 task cards designed exclusively for working on manipulative skills during PE or in the classroom as a brain break or movement energizer!

This fun set of super challenge visuals was designed to be implemented with a wide range of ages.

Need a Large C ollection of Skill-Based Activity Visuals?

If you're looking for several skill-based activity progression visuals to use in your classes that incorporates a variety of PE equipment , look no further! Cap'n Pete has the ultimate PE skill-based resource - PE Activity: Super Challenge Series- PE Skills Edition.  The packet is made up of 26 individual challenge visuals; one for each letter of the alphabet.!

Easter PE Resources

Each task sheet consists of 6 manipulative skill-based challenges, that progressively get more difficult as the students work through the tasks. These challenges can easily be utilized by a physical education or classroom teacher to provide students with a quality, manipulative skill-based, highly engaging LEARNING experience they will absolutely LOVE! The Super Challenge Series sheets are “Kid-Friendly” (incorporating a Super Hero theme) and the set comes complete with a detailed activity plan and optional incentive tickets for completing each challenge sheet.

The challenges were designed to use typical PE equipment that includes activities using; beanbags, hula hoops, jump ropes, balloons, juggling scarves, paddles, rackets and playground balls. Students can work on their own, in partners or small groups to attempt the self-guided/paced progressions.

You can download them from either of the following platforms: Cap'n Pete's Power PE Website   or Teachers Pay Teachers- Cap'n Pete's TPT Store

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Using Project Based Learning in Physical Education

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46 Unique Phys Ed Games Your Students Will Love

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Kids playing elementary PE games like head, shoulders, knees, and cones and rock, paper, scissors, bean bag, balance

There’s nothing kids need more to break up a day spent sitting still and listening than a fun PE class to let off some steam. In the old days, going to gym class probably included playing kickball or dodgeball after running a few laps. Since then, there have been countless reinventions of and variations on old classics as well as completely new games. Although there is no shortage of options, we love that the supplies required remain relatively minimal. You can transport to another galaxy using just a pool noodle or two or create a life-size game of Connect 4 using just Hula-Hoops. You’ll want to make sure to have some staples on hand like balls, beanbags, and parachutes. There are even PE games for kindergartners based on beloved children’s TV shows and party games. Regardless of your students’ athletic abilities, there is something for everyone on our list of elementary PE games!

1. Tic-Tac-Toe Relay

Students stand in the background. In the foreground are several hula hoops laid out on the floor (elementary PE games)

Elementary PE games that not only get students moving but also get them thinking are our favorites. Grab some Hula-Hoops and a few scarves or beanbags and get ready to watch the fun!

Learn more: Tic-Tac-Toe Relay at S&S Blog

2. Blob Tag

A large group of elementary school aged children are holding hands and running outside (elementary PE games)

Pick two students to start as the Blob, then as they tag other kids, they will become part of the Blob. Be sure to demonstrate safe tagging, stressing the importance of soft touches.

Learn more: Blob Tag at Playworks

3. Cross the River

A graphic shows how to setup his game. (elementary PE games)

This fun game has multiple levels that students have to work through, including “get to the island,” “cross the river,” and “you lost a rock.”

Learn more: Cross the River at The PE Specialist

4. Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Cones

Three photos show students lined up on a line of cones in a gymnasium (elementary PE games)

Line up cones, then have students pair up and stand on either side of a cone. Finally, call out head, shoulders, knees, or cones. If cones is called, students have to race to be the first to pick up their cone before their opponent.

Learn more: Head, Shoulders, Knees & Cones at S&S Blog

5. Spider Ball

Four children facing the camera are chasing after a soccer ball flying through the air (elementary PE games)

Elementary PE games are often variations of dodgeball like this one. One or two players start with the ball and attempt to hit all of the runners as they run across the gym or field. If a player is hit, they can then join in and become a spider themselves.

Learn more: Spider Ball Game at Kid Activities

6. Crab Soccer

People are shown on all fours ready to kick a ball while imitating crabs (elementary PE games)

We love elementary PE games that require students to act like animals (and we think they will too). Similar to regular soccer, but students will need to play on all fours while maintaining a crab-like position.

Learn more: Crab Soccer at Playworks

7. Halloween Tag

A graphic shows neon stick people standing in hula hoops and some have witch hats on. Text reads Halloween Tag (elementary PE games)

This is the perfect PE game to play in October. It’s similar to tag, but there are witches, wizards, and blobs with no bones!

Learn more: Halloween Tag at The Physical Educator

8. Crazy Caterpillars

We love that this game is not only fun but also works on students’ hand-eye coordination. Students will have fun pushing their balls around the gym with pool noodles while building their caterpillars.

9. Monster Ball

A diagram shows how to setup a gynmasium for Monster ball. The left side shows the blue team and the right side shows the red. There is a large ball in a square in between the teams.

You’ll need a large exercise ball or something similar to act as the monster ball in the middle. Make a square around the monster ball, divide the class into teams on either side of the square, then task the teams with throwing small balls at the monster ball to move it into the other team’s area.

Learn more: Monster Ball at The PE Specialist

10. Striker Ball

Large cones and students are spread around a gymnasium.

Striker ball is an enjoyable game that will keep your students entertained while working on reaction time and strategic planning. We love that there is limited setup required before playing.

Learn more: Striker Ball at S&S Blog

11. Parachute Tug-of-War

Students stand around a brightly colored parachute.

What list of elementary PE games would be complete without some parachute fun? So simple yet so fun, all you will need is a large parachute and enough students to create two teams. Have students stand on opposite sides of the parachute, then let them compete to see which side comes out on top.

Learn more: Parachute Tug-of-War at Mom Junction

12. Fleas Off the Parachute

Students stand around a large parachute with small balls bouncing on the top of it.

Another fun parachute game where one team needs to try to keep the balls (fleas) on the parachute and the other tries to get them off.

Learn more: Fleas Off the Parachute at Mom Junction

13. Crazy Ball

A collage of pictures shows a little boy holding a frisbee, a few large dodge balls, and a group of children running.

The setup for this fun game is similar to kickball, with three bases and a home base. Crazy ball really is so crazy as it combines elements of football, Frisbee, and kickball!

Learn more: Crazy Ball at Health Beet

14. Bridge Tag

A stick figure is shown on all fours.

This game starts as simple tag but evolves into something more fun once the tagging begins. Once tagged, kids must form a bridge with their body and they can’t be freed until someone crawls through.

Learn more: Bridge Tag at Great Camp Games

15. Star Wars Tag

A drawing of Star Wars shows a battle with different colored lightsabers.

Elementary PE games that allow you to be your favorite movie character are just way too much fun! You will need two different-colored pool noodles to stand in for lightsabers. The tagger will have one color pool noodle that they use to tag students while the healer will have the other color that they will use to free their friends.

Learn more: Star Wars Tag at Great Camp Games

16. Rob the Nest

Create an obstacle course that leads to a nest of eggs (balls) and then divide the students into teams. They will have to race relay-style through the obstacles to retrieve eggs and bring them back to their team.

17. Four Corners

Four corners are designated by different colored papers. Students stand on different corners. different colored pa

We love this classic game since it engages students physically while also working on color recognition for younger students. Have your students stand on a corner, then close their eyes and call out a color. Students standing on that color earn a point.

Learn more: Four Corners at The Many Little Joys

18. Movement Dice

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This is a perfect warm-up that requires only a die and a sheet with corresponding exercises.

Learn more: Roll the Dice Movement Break at Teaching Littles

19. Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag

A graphic shows cartoon children jumping and the text reads our version of rock, paper, scissors tag (elementary PE games)

A fun spin on tag, children will tag one another and then play a quick game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who has to sit and who gets to continue playing.

Learn more: Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag at Grade Onederful

20. Cornhole Cardio

Students stand about 10 yards back from cornhold boards. There are cones scattered throughout the gymnasium.

This one is so fun but can be a little bit confusing, so be sure to leave plenty of time for instruction. Kids will be divided into teams before proceeding through a fun house that includes cornhole, running laps, and stacking cups.

Learn more: Cardio Cornhole at S&S Blog

21. Connect 4 Relay

This relay takes the game Connect 4 to a whole new level. Players must connect four dots either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

22. Zookeepers

Students will love imitating their favorite animals while playing this fun variation of Four Corners where the taggers are the zookeepers.

23. Racket Whack-It

A diagram shows how to setup the game Rack It, Whack It.

Students stand with rackets in hand while balls are thrown at them—they must either dodge the balls or swat them away.

Learn more: Racket Whack-It via

24. Crazy Moves

A diagram shows 5 mats laid out with x's on them to represent the students.

Set mats out around the gym, then yell out a number. Students must race to the mat before it is already filled with the correct number of bodies.

Learn more: Crazy Moves at

25. Wheelbarrow Race

A cartoon image shows two kids on their hands while two other kids hold their legs. A third child is yelling Go in the background.

Sometimes the best elementary PE games are the simplest. An oldie but a goodie, wheelbarrow races require no equipment and are guaranteed to be a hit with your students.

Learn more: Wheelbarrow Race at wikiHow

26. Live-Action Pac-Man

Fans of retro video games like Pac-Man will get a kick out of this live-action version where students get to act out the characters.

27. Spaceship Tag

Give each of your students a Hula-Hoop (spaceship), then have them run around trying not to bump into anyone else’s spaceship or get tagged by the teacher (alien). Once your students get really good at it, you can add different levels of complexity.

28. Rock, Paper, Scissors Beanbag Balance

Two children stand playing rock, paper, scissors, with bean bags on their heads (elementary PE games)

We love this spin on Rock, Paper, Scissors because it works on balance and coordination. Students walk around the gym until they find an opponent, then the winner collects a beanbag, which they must balance on their head!

Learn more: Rock, Paper, Scissors Beanbag Balance at PE Universe

29. Throwing, Catching, and Rolling

Wedge mats are laid out in front of kiddie swimming pools which are filled with industrial sized paper towel rolls. Children are scattered around holding whiffle balls.

This is a fun activity but it will require a lot of preparation, including asking the school maintenance staff to collect industrial-sized paper towel rolls. We love this activity because it reminds us of the old-school arcade game Skee-Ball!

Learn more: Winter Activity at S&S Blog

30. Jenga Fitness

A diagram explains the rules to playing Jenga fitness.

Although Jenga is fun enough on its own, combining it with fun physical challenges is sure to be a winner with young students.

Learn more: Jenga Fitness at S&S Blog

31. Volcanoes and Ice Cream Cones

A diagram shows children running around flipping cones either upside down or right side up (elementary PE games)

Divide the class into two teams, then assign one team as volcanoes and the other as ice cream cones. Next, spread cones around the gym, half upside down and half right side up. Finally, have the teams race to flip as many cones as possible to either volcanoes or ice cream cones.

Learn more: Warm-Up Games at Prime Coaching Sport

This fun variation on dodgeball will have your students getting exercise while having a ton of fun! Begin with three balls on a basketball court. If you are hit by a ball, you are out. If you take a step while holding a ball, you are out. There are other rules surrounding getting out and also how to get back in, which can be found in this video.

33. Musical Hula-Hoops

PE games for kindergartners that are similar to party games are some of our favorites! Think musical chairs but with Hula-Hoops! Lay enough Hula-Hoops around the edge of the gym minus five students since they will be in the muscle pot. Once the music starts, students walk around the gym. When the music stops, whoever doesn’t find a Hula-Hoop becomes the new muscle pot!

34. 10-Second Tag

This game is perfect to play at the beginning of the year since it helps with learning names and allows the teacher to get to know the first student in line.

35. The Border

This game is so fun and requires no equipment whatsoever. Divide the gym into two sides. One side can move freely while the other side must avoid letting their feet touch the floor by rolling around, crawling, etc.

36. Freedom Catch

This is a simple throwing, catching, and tag game that will certainly be a hit with your PE class. Captors attempt to tag players so they can send them to jail. You can be freed if someone on your team runs to a freedom cone while throwing a ball to the jailed person. If the ball is caught by the jailed person, they can rejoin the game.

37. Oscar’s Trashcan

As far as PE games for kindergartners goes, this one is a guaranteed winner since it is based on the show Sesame Street . You’ll need two large areas that can be sectioned off to use as trash cans and also a lot of medium-size balls. There are two teams who must compete to fill their opponent’s trash can while emptying their own. Once over, the trash will be counted and the team with the least amount of trash in their trash can wins!

38. 4-Way Frisbee

Divide your class into four separate teams, who will compete for points by catching a Frisbee inside one of the designated goal areas. Defenders are also able to go into the goal areas. There are a number of other rules that can be applied so you can modify the game in a way that’s best for your class.

39. Badminton King’s/Queen’s Court

This one is simple but fun since it is played rapid-fire with kids waiting their turn to take on the King or Queen of the court. Two players start and as soon as a point is earned, the loser swaps places with another player. The goal is to be the player that stays on the court the longest, consistently knocking out new opponents.

40. Jumping and Landing Stations

Kids love stations and they definitely love jumping, so why not combine those things into one super-fun gym class? They’ll have a blast challenging themselves with all the different obstacles presented in this video.

41. Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course

Regardless of whether you’ve ever seen an episode of American Ninja Warrior , you are probably familiar with the concept and so are your students. Plus, you’ll probably have just as much fun as your students setting up the obstacles and testing them out!

42. Balloon Tennis

Since kids love playing keepy-uppy with a balloon, they will love taking it a step further with balloon tag!

43. Indoor Putting Green

If your school can afford to invest in these unique putting green sets, you can introduce the game of golf to kids as young as kindergarten. Who knows, you might just have a future Masters winner in your class!

44. Scooter Activities

Let’s be honest, we all have fond memories of using scooters in gym class. Regardless of whether you do a scooter sleigh or scooter hockey, we think there is something for everyone in this fun video.

45. Pick It Up

This is the perfect PE game to play if you are stuck in a small space with a good-size group. Teams win by making all of their beanbag shots and then collecting all of their dots and stacking them into a nice neat pile.

46. Dodgeball Variations

Since not all kids love having balls thrown at them, why not try a dodgeball alternative that uses gym equipment as targets rather than fellow students? For example, have each student stand in front of a Hula-Hoop with a bowling ball inside of it. Students need to protect their hoop while attempting to knock over their opponents’ pins.

What are your favorite elementary PE games to play with your class? Come and share in our We Are Teachers HELPLINE group  on Facebook.

Plus, check out  our favorite recess games for the classroom ..

PE class provides students with a much-needed outlet to run around. Spice things up with one of these fun and innovative elementary PE games!

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NEW REPORT: The People's Guide to Project 2025

The People’s Guide to Project 2025

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Project 2025 is among the most profound threats to the American people.

We read Project 2025’s entire 900+ page “Mandate for Leadership” so that you don’t have to.

What we discovered was a systemic, ruthless plan to undermine the quality of life of millions of Americans, remove critical protections and dismantle programs for communities across the nation, and prioritize special interests and ideological extremism over people.

From attacking overtime pay, student loans, and reproductive rights, to allowing more discrimination, pollution, and price gouging, those behind Project 2025 are preparing to go to incredible lengths to create a country only for some, not for all of us.

If these plans are enacted, which Project 2025’s authors claim can happen without congressional approval, 4.3 million people could lose overtime protections, 40 million people could have their food assistance reduced, 220,000 American jobs could be lost, and much, much, more. The stakes are higher than ever for democracy and for people.

These threats aren’t hypothetical. These are their real plans.

The Heritage Foundation and the 100+ organizations that make up the Project 2025 Advisory Board have mapped out exactly how they will achieve their extreme ends. They aim to try and carry out many of the most troubling proposals through an anti-democratic president and political loyalists installed in the executive branch, without waiting for congressional action. And, while many of these plans are unlawful, winning in court is not guaranteed given that the same far-right movement that is behind Project 2025 has shaped our current court system.

To combat the threats posed by Project 2025, we have to first understand them.

What follows are some of the most dangerous proposals that make up Project 2025, specifically those that they plan to implement through federal agencies and a far-right executive branch.

The majority of Americans share the same values and priorities, but Project 2025 wants to push an extreme, out-of-touch agenda on all of us . By reading this guide and sharing it, we can begin to address these threats and go on offense towards building a bold, inclusive democracy for all people.

Download PDF

What is Project 2025?

The Project 2025 Presidential Transition Project is a well-funded (eight-figure) effort of the Heritage Foundation and more than 100 organizations to enable a future anti-democratic presidential administration to take swift, far-right action that would cut wages for working people, dismantle social safety net programs, reverse decades of progress for civil rights, redefine the way our society operates, and undermine our economy.

A central pillar of Project 2025 is the “Mandate for Leadership,” a 900+ page policy playbook authored by former Trump administration officials and other extremists that provides a radical vision for our nation and a roadmap to implement it.

Project 2025 Snapshot

Proposals from Project 2025, discussed in detail throughout this guide, that they claim could be implemented through executive branch action alone — so without new legislation — include:

  • Cut overtime protections for 4.3 million workers
  • Stop efforts to lower prescription drug prices
  • Limit access to food assistance, which an average of more than 40 million people in 21.6 million households rely on monthly
  • Eliminate the Head Start early education program, which serves over 1 million children annually
  • Cut American Rescue Plan (ARP) programs that have created or saved 220,000 jobs
  • Restrict access to medication abortion
  • Push more of the 33 million people enrolled in Medicare towards Medicare Advantage and other worse, private options
  • Expose the 368,000 children in foster care to risk of increased discrimination
  • Deny students in 25 states and Washington, D.C. access to student loans because their state provides in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants
  • Roll back civil rights protections across multiple fronts, including cutting diversity, equity, and inclusion-related (DEI) programs and LGBTQ+ rights in health care, education, and workplaces

Explore Project 2025's Plans:

Cut wages, create unsafe workplaces, and destabilize our economy.

Project 2025 would enable corporations to cut overtime pay, relax worker safety rules, allow workplace discrimination, and more.

Make It Harder for Americans to Make Ends Meet

A strong democracy is one where people have the resources they need to thrive, not worry about how they will make ends meet. Project 2025 proposals would only make daily life harder for people – with fewer people able to access food assistance and affordable early education, less support for veterans with disabilities, and cuts to support for farmers.

Restrict Reproductive Rights and Access to Health Care

Despite the majority of Americans supporting comprehensive health care and reproductive freedom, Project 2025 would prefer a far different reality. Their attacks would undermine Medicare, keep prescription drug prices high, and restrict access to reproductive care.

Enable Discrimination Across Society

Threatened by decades of progress in advancing civil rights and equality for all, the authors of Project 2025 want to create a country that allows for more discrimination where we live, study, work, and play — and roll back hard-fought victories by our movements for progress.

Set Polluters Loose and Undo Climate Action

We’ve waited decades for meaningful and robust federal action to combat climate change and protect people from the harms of pollution. Project 2025 couldn’t care less about these threats — and now they want to destroy our hard-fought gains.

Make Education Unaffordable and Unwelcoming

Our public schools are foundational to our democracy. When special interests undermine public schools, they undermine the ability of students from all backgrounds to learn, feel safe in their community, and develop skills and knowledge that enable students to thrive. If Project 2025 has their way, our public schools could be stripped of funding, protections for students, and high-quality curricula.

Undermine Government’s Ability to Deliver for People

Civil servants are federal employees who work and live in all 50 states — the more than 2 million people who keep our air clean, water safe, consumers protected, and mail delivered. Attacks on the nation’s civil service are attacks on the government’s ability to work for the people.

The threats from Project 2025 do not end here.

This  People’s Guide only begins to catalog the people and communities who would be harmed if a future presidential administration began to implement Project 2025’s proposals. Businesses and industry across the country could be harmed not just from the lack of data collection discussed above, but also from proposals to politicize the Federal Reserve or to restrict free trade. Our country’s national security itself, too, is threatened by proposals to concentrate military decisionmaking, further undermine our intelligence agencies, or promote isolationist policies.

We continue to analyze these policies and their harms to people, and expect to release updated versions of the  People’s Guide  with reports on the threats that would make it harder to run a business, put our security at risk, and more. Click here to sign up to receive the updated reports directly in your inbox.

We cannot let Project 2025 write the next chapter of our nation’s story.

To learn more about how we can confront the threats presented in this guide head-on and begin to build a bold, vibrant democracy for all people, visit .

Our three pillars to advance a bold, vibrant democracy for all people:

Defending democracy and policies that propel progress through public education, regulatory and legal support.

Disrupting unlawful, regressive, and anti-democratic activity through litigation, investigations, and public education.

Building coalitions, supporting communities, and creating a more democratic and just future through the law.

Join us in this generational fight for people and democracy.

New york times: “the resistance to a new trump administration has already started”.

As first reported in The New York Times : Democracy Forward is “ensuring that people and communities that would be affected by a range of policies that we see with respect to Project 2025 know their legal rights and remedies and are able to access legal representation, should that be necessary.”

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Thanks to the “EU4UASchools: Build Back Better” project, 308 aspiring Ukrainian athletes can now continue their training in a safe and renovated environment

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Directorate for Education and Skills

The Education and Skills Directorate is one of twelve substantive departments of the OECD and provides policy analysis and advice on education to help individuals and nations to identify and develop the knowledge and skills that drive better jobs and better lives, generate prosperity and promote social inclusion.

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The OECD Directorate for Education and Skills seeks to help individuals and nations to identify and develop the knowledge, skills and values that drive better jobs and better lives, generate prosperity and promote social inclusion. It assists OECD countries and partner economies in designing and managing their education and skills systems, and in implementing reforms, so that citizens can develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values they need throughout their lives.

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The work of the Directorate for Education and Skills is overseen by four bodies, each with its own mandate, membership, and programme of work and budget, to help deliver work under the overall governance of the OECD Council:

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  • The Centre for Educational Research and Innovation Governing Board (CERI) 
  • The Programme for International Student Assessment Governing Board (PISA)
  • The Programme for Teaching and Learning International Survey Governing Board (TALIS)
  • The Board of Participating Countries for the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is overseen by both the Education Policy Committee and the Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee.

What we are working on

The best way for education systems to improve is to learn what works from each other. We deploy large scale surveys and reviews, designing common methodological and analytical frameworks for utmost comparability of empirical evidence from different education systems. We collect data about nearly all aspects of countries’ education systems from key policies, teacher practises, adult proficiency, and early childhood learning and well-being to how 15-year-olds perform in mathematics and what their attitudes are about global issues like climate change.

  • The International Early Learning and Child Well-Being Study
  • OECD Survey on Social and Emotional Skills
  • Survey of Adult Skills
  • The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey
  •    Education at a Glance
  •   The Education Policy Outlook
  •   PISA Global Crisis Module
  •   Global Teaching Insights
  • Explore by country
  • Explore by topic
  • Review policies    
  •   PISA for schools

Assisting countries with policy development and implementation

We help countries answer important questions facing education policy makers and practitioners alike: how to identify and develop the right skills and turn them into better jobs and better lives; how best to allocate resources in education to support social and economic development; and how to offer everyone the chance to make the most of their abilities at every age and stage of life OECD and partner countries look to our expertise to review their education and skills systems, and assist them in developing and implementing policies to improve them. We conduct reviews ranging from those on individual national education policy to comparative educational policy and thematic peer-analysis. We review and support the development of higher education systems with analysis on resource use and labour market relevance. All of these provide in-depth analyses and advice that draw on OECD data resources, national policy documents and research, and field-based interviewing by OECD review teams. Comparative thematics, covering areas such as ECEC in a digital world, diversity, equity and inclusion in education, teacher policy and transitions in upper secondary education, are based on a common conceptual framework and methodology developed with advice from a group of national experts.

Through tailored implementation support the directorate offers countries assistance in implementing policy, from curriculum reform to helping schools become effective learning organisations. It also brings countries and stakeholders together in a variety of fora to exchange ideas, an important step in the policymaking process.  

Pivoting to tomorrow

What knowledge, skills, attitudes and values will students need in a swiftly evolving world? We develop long-term “leading-edge” thinking that looks beyond the current state of education to what it can become. These multiple-scenario analyses nourish our ground-breaking Education 2030 work on curriculum. They inform international debate and inspire policy processes to shape the future of education. The one certainty about the future of education is that it will be a digital one though we cannot know to what degree. In staying ahead of the EdTech curve, the directorate advises countries on the fast-changing potential of digital tools like robotics, blockchain and artificial intelligence, and how they can be integrated and used to equitably boost teaching, learning and administrative performance. The digitalisation of education is just one of the many strategic foresight areas the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) focuses on. Its exploration of best practices flagged by international comparisons helps countries move towards the frontiers of education.

Programmes of work

  • Education and Skills Policy Programme The OECD’s programme on education and skills policy support policymakers in their efforts to achieve high-quality lifelong learning, which in turn contributes to personal development, sustainable economic growth, and social cohesion. Learn more
  • CERI The Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) provides and promotes international comparative research, innovation and key indicators, explores forward-looking and innovative approaches to education and learning, and facilitates bridges between educational research, innovation and policy development. Learn more
  • INES The OECD Indicators of Education Systems (INES) programme seeks to gauge the performance of national education systems through internationally comparable data. Learn more
  • PISA PISA is the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment. PISA measures 15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges. Learn more
  • PIAAC The Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the PIAAC, measures adults’ proficiency in literacy, numeracy and the ability to solve problems in technology-rich environments. Learn more
  • TALIS TALIS - the Teaching and Learning International Survey - is the world's largest international survey about teachers and school leaders. Learn more
  • Survey on Social and Emotional Skills (SSES) The OECD Survey on Social and Emotional Skills is an international survey that identifies and assesses the conditions and practices that foster or hinder the development of social and emotional skills for 10- and 15-year-old students. Learn more
  • Early Childhood Education and Care The Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) programme conducts analysis and develops new data to support countries in reviewing and improving their early childhood services and systems. Learn more
  • Higher Education Policy The Higher Education Policy Programme carries out analysis on a wide range of higher education systems and policies Learn more

Directorate outputs

project for physical education

Policy and working papers

project for physical education

More facts, key findings and policy recommendations

project for physical education

Create customised data profiles and compare countries

project for physical education

Related policy issues

  • Education and skills
  • Education access, participation, and progression
  • Education economic and social outcomes
  • Education equity
  • Education evaluation and quality assurance
  • Education financing
  • Education leadership
  • Education organisation and governance
  • Future of education and skills
  • Learning environment
  • Teachers and educators
  • Student performance (PISA)

Get in touch

Contact us:

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Case Study: High School Engineering Education with SkyCiv

Case study: st joseph’s college gregory terrace.

An innovative Engineering program spanning Years 10 to 12 at St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace in Queensland, Australia has leveraged SkyCiv to enhance its curriculum. The use of SkyCiv’s analysis software has enabled students to gain deep insights into structural design and analysis, resulting in highly detailed project work that aligns closely with physical prototypes. Teacher Damien Hanley, has used SkyCiv for more than 6 years, as both a teaching aid and for the past few years providing access to his classes under an Educational Account.

Learn more about Damien’s classes and how he used SkyCiv in the classroom, with the Q&A case study below:

project for physical education

Please tell us about your projects

We teach Engineering across Years 10 to 12, catering to students aged 15 to 18, through a series of structured projects:

Year 10: Bridge Design

  • Objective : Design a bridge using laser-cut plywood to hold the maximum load within specific limitations (span, height, and choice of three cross-sectional areas).
  • Process : Students utilize SkyCiv to create and iterate their bridge designs, leveraging the tool’s feedback to refine and optimize their structures.

Year 11: Derrick Crane Design

  • Objective : Construct a derrick crane using balsawood members (6.5 x 6.5 mm cross sections) capable of holding a fixed load within set limitations (base width, height of load point).
  • Process : SkyCiv aids students in analyzing load distribution and structural integrity, enabling precise adjustments and optimizations to their crane designs.

Year 12: Advanced Bridge Design

  • Objective : Develop a bridge from balsawood members to support a fixed load, including a Factor of Safety (FOS), within predefined constraints.
  • Process : SkyCiv’s advanced tools provide a high level of detail in the design process, assisting students in achieving designs that perform reliably under testing.

These projects not only develop the students’ technical skills but also enhance their ability to apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios, preparing them for further studies and careers in engineering.

What was the SkyCiv learning process like for your students?

The SkyCiv learning process for our students has been highly beneficial. It is an excellent tool that provides detailed feedback promptly, which is essential for effective learning and development. The choice of visuals and data presentation with each design iteration enables students to communicate their progress and findings at a high level.

Our project work requires deep investigative effort and a strong emphasis on synthesizing information to predict relevant solutions. SkyCiv’s ability to generate extensive data from various iterations allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and the application of this knowledge effectively. A notable highlight is the close alignment between our virtual models and the prototypes tested, which reinforces and encourages students to delve deeply into their initial design work.

I believe that the level of detail and feedback SkyCiv provides significantly enhances the quality of our project work.

project for physical education

St Joseph’s College Students also made insightful suggestions for improvements to their own designs – showing a great deal of engineering knowledge and critical thinking

What did you and the students like the most about SkyCiv?

SkyCiv offers several features that both the students and I find highly valuable. The user interface is intuitive and allows for quick changes, providing instant, detailed feedback, which is crucial for iterative design processes. Additionally, the ability to easily export designs in .dxf format to Fusion 360 is an excellent feature. This compatibility facilitates our workflow, especially when laser cutting plywood models and creating orthographic drawings for balsawood prototypes.

This hands-on process is enjoyed by the students as it provides a direct understanding of the importance of building accurate prototypes to match their virtual designs. Using SkyCiv, the students have been able to develop sophisticated ideas aimed at reducing axial forces and displacement, ensuring stress values align with material properties, and confirming that the final designs have a buckling factor greater than one. The quality of work produced using SkyCiv has been impressive, showcasing their ability to apply theoretical knowledge to practical applications.

How well did the physical results match the simulated results?

The physical prototypes closely matched the simulated results. When constructed with precision, the prototypes consistently align with the simulations. We emphasize joint design in our balsawood models, ensuring that joints are appropriately designed, and compression members effectively lock in tension members. Additionally, the use of gusset plates made from cardboard or balsawood sheets further ensures that the physical models accurately reflect the virtual designs. This meticulous approach to construction and joint design has proven effective in achieving a high degree of correlation between the simulated and physical outcomes.

project for physical education

Students performed physical testing of their structures to compare results to their structural analysis results using SkyCiv.

Were there any features that stood out?

SkyCiv offers several standout features that have significantly enhanced our workflow and project outcomes. The ability to use a spreadsheet to speed up processes and make edits efficiently is particularly valuable. Additionally, the camera tool is excellent for capturing and documenting edits made to student design work, facilitating effective communication of their design development, which is a critical aspect of our projects.

We consistently use several essential tools within SkyCiv, including those for analyzing axial forces, displacement, stress, and buckling factors. The 3D render tool is also invaluable for visualizing laminations of members. This year, the stress analysis tool has been a particular highlight, especially after incorporating it into our Year 10 projects. Providing students with a specific yield stress value to meet for tension and compression members has given them a concrete point of reference and greatly enhanced their understanding. Based on this success, I plan to incorporate this feature across all future projects.

SkyCiv Education

To learn more about SkyCiv Education Accounts , please contact us at [email protected] and we will be happy to help support your Educational needs.

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News Obituaries | Joseph S. ‘Joe’ Loveless Jr., educator,…

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News Obituaries

News obituaries | joseph s. ‘joe’ loveless jr., educator, businessman and mayor of denton, dies.

Joseph S. "Joe" Loveless Jr. was an avid collector and user of classic vintage fountain pens. (Handout)

“Joe mentored me. I had him as a student and as a football coach at Colonel Richardson Senior High School and when I went into the field of physical education, he was my vice principal at Riverview Middle School in Denton, and we managed to stay friends through the years,” said Richard “Dick” Wheatley.

“He was a good friend and mentor and always there if you needed to talk to someone,” he said.

Joseph Savin Loveless Jr. son of Joseph S. Loveless Sr., a master carpenter and professional Big Band era drummer, and Mildred Rosel Buckingham, a retail clerk, was born at his parent’s Gwynn Oak home.

When he was a child, Mr. Loveless moved with his family to a 22-acre farm in Finksburg where they built a home and leased the land to a farmer.

As a boy, he harvested potatoes and received a nickel a bushel, family members said.

After graduating from Westminster High School in 1958, Mr. Loveless attended what was then Slippery Rock State Teachers College in Pennsylvania, and then transferred to what is now Frostburg University where he played starting center on the school’s inaugural football team.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in education and began his career in education in 1963 teaching health and physical education at Westminster High School, where he was head coach of the junior varsity football team.

He subsequently taught math and science at Arbutus Junior High School, now Arbutus Middle School, until being recruited to be the athletic director and head football and baseball coach at Colonel Richardson Senior High School.

He then went to rival North Caroline Senior High School in Ridgely as varsity defensive football coach, and in 1970, after the legendary Granville “Rock” Harrison retired, took over as head coach.

“As a coach, he was very thorough because he certainly knew the game,” Mr. Wheatley said. “His scouting reports and game plans were very thorough. We learned the game from someone who really knew the game.”

In addition to his coaching and teaching duties, Mr. Loveless earned a master’s degree in education in 1974 from Frostburg.

He moved into administration as vice principal of discipline at Riverview Middle School, now Lockerman Middle School in Denton.

He then returned to Colonel Richardson as vice principal.

“As a principal, he was a good disciplinarian, he always backed his teachers, and was good to the students,” said Mr. Wheatley, who retired in 2003. “And he wasn’t above filling in as a teacher in a classroom if needed.”

Mr. Loveless entered the world of Democratic politics in Denton when he was elected as a town commissioner in 1978, and in 1981, named vice mayor.

In 1982, the town commissioners selected him as mayor, succeeding Richard T. Warfield.

During his administration, he played a role in bringing better housing, helping plan the Denton Industrial Park and other civic improvements.

“They rotate the mayoral terms, which are a year,” said Karin Sonja Remesch, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, and significant other for 27 years.

He organized celebrity charity golf tournaments at the Caroline Country Club featuring Orioles and Baltimore Colts players, was a firefighter with the Denton Volunteer Fire Department, an assistant Little League coach and an active member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

An entrepreneur, he founded Joe Loveless Tires and eventually left education to own and operate the Joe Loveless Service Co., which specialized in estate cleaning.

He sold cars for Jarvis Chevrolet while obtaining his real estate license and worked in commercial development where he urged chains to consider locating their businesses in rural areas.

“His business forte was bringing people together,” Ms. Remesch said.

He retired in 2015 after being diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2014.

Divorced in 1995 from Carol Miller, he met Ms. Remesch two years later.

The couple were inseparable and enjoyed hiking and backpacking in Ms. Remesch’s native Germany as well as in Austria, Switzerland, France and Denmark.

They both attended the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and travelled to New York several times a year for Metropolitan Opera performances.

“He enjoyed fine wine and candle light dining, but couldn’t even fry an egg himself,” Ms. Remesch said. “He didn’t even know how to turn on a stove but he was a great host at our small dinner gatherings, often seven-course dinners. I did the cooking and he did the dishes.”

She recalled the time she was entertaining several girlfriends and he decided to be the group’s butler.

“He went upstairs, put on his tuxedo, and greeted my guests with glasses of champagne on a silver tray with a crisp white towel draped over his arm.”

Mr. Loveless was an avid collector of classic vintage fountain pens.

“Daily, he would choose a pen for his shirt pocket as carefully as a woman would choose earrings,” Ms. Remesch said. “And they were Mont Blancs, Pelikans or Omas, just to mention a few.”

Plans for a private celebration of life gathering to be held in September are incomplete.

In addition to Ms. Remesch, his life partner of 27 years, he is survived by a son, Joseph S. Loveless III, of Purcellville, Virginia; a daughter, Donna Warner, of Easton; a brother, Johnny Loveless, of Nashville; a sister, Gail Elford, of Florida; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

More in News Obituaries

Carmen Amedori, a former Carroll County delegate, parole commissioner and Baltimore Sun journalist, died June 9. She was 68.

News Obituaries | Carmen Amedori, state delegate from Carroll, parole commissioner and journalist, dies

Michael J. 'Mike' Farabaugh, Evening Sun sports reporter, dies

News Obituaries | Michael J. ‘Mike’ Farabaugh, Evening Sun sports reporter, dies

Randolph Edwin "Randy" Abrams, a Social Security Administration executive, died June 14 at a Gwynn Oak assisted living home. He was 74.

News Obituaries | Randolph Edwin ‘Randy’ Abrams, Social Security Administration executive, dies

Captain Howland S. "Scotty" Roberts Jr., a Chesapeake Bay pilot who spent more than four decades guiding ships up and down the bay, died June 25 at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. He was 81.

News Obituaries | Captain Howland S. ‘Scotty’ Roberts Jr., fourth-generation Chesapeake Bay pilot, dies


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