In sixth grade physical education classes, students learn about health and fitness, and participate in different sports and games. Activities and games should promote cardiovascular health, flexibility, muscular strength, coordination and endurance. In a typical physical education class, students begin with a 5 to 10 minute warm up exercise, such as running and stretching, then complete an organized activity.
This activity promotes coordination and cardio health, by keeping students moving and developing rhythm. Use an up-tempo song with 4-4 time to accompany the activity. Organize students into lines standing side by side, and show them the four count side-step-clap-clap pattern. Two steps, two claps, then two steps the other way, two claps. You can add in additional moves like a jump once students have the rhythm.To keep everyone learning, move the natural dancers in among students who are struggling so they can watch and learn as they dance.
A quirky variation on dodgeball, snowball adds a few extra stages between "in" and "out" to keep everyone in the game longer. Students are divided onto two sides of the gym, as in regular dodgeball, and soft or inflated balls are hurled across the dividing line. If a student is bumped with a ball, he immediately gets down on his knees. He can continue to play, picking up and throwing balls from the kneeling position. If he catches a ball coming from the other team, he gets to stand up again and resume regular play.
This variation on hockey is excellent for schools with limited equipment. Divide students into two teams, and give each child a number. Have teams sit on opposite sides of the gym. Put hockey sticks and a ball in the middle of the floor, and set up goals on the far ends. To begin, shout out a number. The two players with that number run to the middle, grab sticks and try to make a goal for their team. When a goal is scored they sit back down, and another number is called. You can call several numbers at a time for mini-team play.
This basketball shooting game mixes up the social and athletic dynamics by having small teams of students perform creative, challenging shooting methods. Split students into groups of 3 to 5, as many groups as stations. For one station, put plastic dots or bases around the floor. Students pick a spot to stand on and shoot from. If they make the basket, the spot is taken away until all the spots are gone. For another, stack large gym mats up in front of the basket and have students shoot from behind them. If they miss, they take the next shot from wherever the ball landed. For another station, place cones in a line leading up to the basket. Have students dribble through the cones then shoot.
Ana Purna has covered outdoor adventure, travel, health and fitness for a variety of publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on the websites FeministReview and PaperDolls. Purna is a writer and radio producer in Texas who graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in history.