Project Based Learning in PE

http://whatworks.wholechildeducation.org/blog/project-based-learning-and-physical-education/

In searching for relevant physical education PBL (Project Based Learning) projects, I have discovered some amazing projects that would be very beneficial for high school students.  One project that particulary interested me involved creating physical fitness programs for middle school students.  The high school students would be challenged daily to ensure they were creating the most effective and beneficial program for middle school students.  I find this project to be very relevant to our society today, and it certainly presents some “big ideas” to both high school and middle school PE participants.  These ideas include the importance of physical activity not only through school, but through daily lives, creating fitness programs can help an individual practice physical fitness, and the ideas of collaboration, teamwork, and role modeling are also presented through this project.

This project also addresses the physical education standards.  The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) presents six standards for current physical education.  These include: #1 “Demonstrates competency in motor skills and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities.” #2 “Demonstrates understanding of movement concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics as they apply to the learning and performance of physical activities.” #3 “Participates regularly in physical activity.” #4 “Achieves and maintains a health-enhancing level of physical fitness.” #5 “Exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others in physical activity settings.” And #6 “Values physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and/or social interaction.”  This PBL project effectively addresses all of these content standards.

After reflecting upon this project, I have realized that the concepts covered in this project play a direct role in the lives of high-schoolers everywhere.  These concepts matter because living a healthy life consists of staying physically active and fit.  By creating these plans, the students have given themselves the opportunity to continue staying active through their own personal fitness programs.  This fact has huge real-world relevance.  This project also addresses several levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Students are engaged through the levels of Analyze, Evaluate, and Create.  The students creating the fitness programs have to analyze several factors including age of the middle school student, previous physical activity trends, demographic groupings, and motivations.  After considering these aspects, students will create the fitness program.  They will design their own personal program that will be given to a middle school student.  After doing this, they will have the opportunity to evaluate their program, and decide if they have given a specific middle school student the best possible chances of succeeding.  At the same time, this PBL project has many 21st-century skill applications as well.  Physical activity and fitness is a literacy in our world today.  It is imperative that individuals stay fit in order to reverse the current trends.  The project also gives students the chance to collaborate with younger students, effectively applying teamwork skills.

Personally, I would have found this PBL project to be very fun and interesting.  There are several aspects of the project that I think students would find very interesting.  The high school students have the opportunity to choose a certain skill, or sport to then develop further fitness goals.  I would have found the opportunity to learn more about a certain sport to be very interesting.  Seeing their plans implemented in a middle school PE classroom would be very interesting and gratifying for students as well.  I was impressed with this project and would certainly be interesting in using it in my future classroom.  It also has many connections with what we have learned so far.  It would be very easy to require students to interview professionals through skype to gain new information, and gaining information through the internet would be very helpful for this project.  This PBL is very interesting and would be a great project to implement in a high school physical education class!

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