Athletics

Central Idea:

  • Goal setting, a positive belief in our skills and perseverance allows us to improve

Learner Outcomes:

  • Active Living:

    • Explain how the body's capacity for movement develops as it grows​

  • Identity:

    • Express hopes, goals and aspirations​

    • Demonstrate a positive belief in their abilities and believe they can reach their goals by persevering

Synopsis:

This unit is slightly complicated so I will list the steps briefly here and then you can read below to see how I broke it down:

  • There are 3 event categories:

    • Track

    • Jump

    • Throw

  • In each category are 2 events

    • Track:

      • 50m & 400m

    • Jump:

      • Long Jump & High Jump

    • Throw:

      • Discus & Shot Put

  • Students choose 1 event from each of the categories

  • They research it, train, reflect, collect data and then ultimately compete

  • The Athletics Carnival consists of all of grade 3 and grade 4 classes competing against each other.

  • Champion class gets matching headbands

  • Champion students in each event gets a medal presented at assembly

Lesson 1: Provocation

  • This has to be the most powerful and exciting unit in the entire PE calendar. I feel the students gain the most from this experience since it involves a great deal of independence but yet strengthens camaraderie, it encourages a lot of research but also pushes the students’ fitness levels – and best of all, the entire school gets behind this unit. It is that big of a deal.



  • If your kids are not excited for the unit after this video, then they are made of stone. I love this video. I swung around the whiteboard and had the new unit in big letters – Athletics. Then I wrote down a date on the board and in a big voice I announced, “In 6 weeks, on this date, you will be competing in your own Olympics. It will be your class against all of the other grade 3s.” They were pumped. But then I added on, “Also, you will be competing against the grade 4s.” Some were even more pumped, others were a bit forlorn – which was great. It was here where I opened up the Central Idea.


  • I did not go into too much detail with the Central Idea since we will have plenty of chances to unpack it later but what I wanted to emphasize is that this unit is all about pushing yourself to be a new you – discover strengths that you did not realize you had before.


  • After this inspirational chat, we went out for a team run. Afterwards, I gathered the class around and told them about the different events:


  • Grade 3 and 4 Athletics:

    • Track:

      • 50m

      • 400m

    • Jump:

      • High Jump

      • Long Jump

    • Throw:

      • Discus

      • Shot Put


  • I asked the kids this question, “how do we know if we are improving?” Fielded a few responses such as, “better scores”, “stronger”, etc. I then told them that we needed to test all of the events so we know where to start and how to improve. We then started testing our track events.


  • Using an app called, “Sprint Timer” (see Technology page for more info), I managed to get accurate times of the kids completing their 50 and 400m runs.


  • We ended the lesson with a short debrief of the day and told them to post their times on Seesaw.

Lesson 2:

  • The day before their lesson, I uploaded onto Seesaw a short fitness program they will do after they finish their Long Jump testing – an anchor activity.


  • However, before they do the fitness program, we started out the lesson with a new warm-up, Indian Sprints. I broke up the class into 4 groups and emphasized that this is not a race. The groups jogs in a line and then when the front person yells ‘go’, the person up the back sprints to the front and subsequently yells, ‘go’ for the next person.


  • Afterwards, we gathered and we broke down the Central Idea a bit more. We looked at positive belief today in more detail. I referred them to the video they saw in the previous lesson and asked them whether they knew what it takes to be an Olympian – the best in the world in their chosen sport. A lot of their motivation comes from believing in themselves.


  • The rest of the lesson, unfortunately, was a bit slow and dry since we had to get baseline testing done for the Long Jump. Since we only have one pit and each person gets two jumps, testing took the whole lesson. Fortunately, the kids had the fitness program they could do individually/pairs/in groups. I emphasized the students to encourage each other and work on their positive belief – “if your body says stop, what does your mind say?” “Keep going!” They should say. If not, still early days to start changing their mindset.


  • After the testing was done, I airdropped the students a document where they can record their results from the days testing. You can access it here. This format is in PDF, but I gave them a Pages document so they can easily edit it on their iPads. I uploaded the days results onto Seesaw and they can check to see if they recorded their results correctly onto Pages.

Lesson 3:

  • This lesson ran pretty much the same as the previous lesson. We reviewed the big idea from last lesson, which was about positive belief. Today, we looked at perseverance – never giving up. This is a massive component of being successful in any endeavor – sporting or not.


  • Afterwards, we went out to test the high jump. Again, I did not give specific key points, apart from safety, jumping off one foot and clearing the bar. I did not tell them where to jump from, how to approach, etc. We started the proceedings at 80cm, every person gets 2 jumps if they do not clear it the first time. We went up by 10cm each time the class finished to ensure we finished on time.


  • Once a student completed their testing, they entered the results into the Results Pages document and then they could either do the new fitness program I put up on Seesaw or they could watch their peers reach for glory.

Lesson 4:

  • This was the final testing day. We did a quick review of the big ideas uncovered: positive belief and perseverance. Then, we moved to the next big idea – goal setting. I asked the students to start thinking about what events they would like to do and to look at their testing results. I asked them to take a quick note in Seesaw on what their goals would be for the three events they are going to choose for the carnival.


  • Once they did that, we went outside and did our throw testing. I did not tell them how to throw the 3kg shot put or the 1kg discus. I did one demonstration each, a safety run through and basic rules (staying within the throwing box, etc.)


  • Just like last time, once they completed their throw, they needed to record their results, upload onto Seesaw and then follow a fitness program that was on Seesaw.


  • With 5 minutes left of the lesson, I announced their homework:

    • Select their 3 events and create a goal distance/height/time for each of those events.

Lesson 5:

  • With all the testing done, it was time to start training. After their warm-up, I airdropped each of them, what I call, “Athletes Notes”. You can find it here. It contains information on each of their events. Each event is broken into different sections: technique, specific drills, strength and conditioning drills and some have an analysis card. I got the kids to sift through the notes for about 5 minutes. As an exit pass to start training, I asked each kid to share one piece of information they found from the Athletes Notes.


  • The kids were super excited. Unfortunately, some kids just went straight to their events and started blindly jumping or throwing. I am glad they were excited, so I let them keep going like this for 10 minutes or so provided they were being safe. Some kids I did have to pull aside to reemphasize safety.


  • Halfway through the lessons, I asked the students to raise their hands if they applied some techniques from the Athletes Notes. Not a lot did, to be expected, since they were so keen to just get stuck in. Therefore, their new task for the rest of the lesson was to pair up and to be a coach for each other - use the Athletes Notes to start improving their technique by giving each other feedback.


  • With 5 minutes left of the lesson, we gathered, discussed the successes and areas they needed to work on.

Lesson 6:

  •  The students got stuck into their warm-up first and afterwards gathered to discuss the day’s plan. By now, the kids were aware of our three key terms: positive belief, goal setting and perseverance therefore, it is up to them to start applying it into their training so they are prepped for the carnival.


  • Prior to letting them off to train, I introduced Hot Lessons. This is where I give a short but detailed run-down of one of the events. I blow the whistle and call out, “Hot Lesson, Discus!” as an example. Any student wishing to know more about the discus can come and join in. We go through the Athletes Notes and discover areas each student needs to improve upon, may it be the stance, grip, release, or all of the above. It’s an opportunity for the kids to have some extra guidance for their specific event.


  • The kids trained for the remainder of the lesson with a few Hot Lessons thrown in as well.


  • For the remainder of the unit, the kids can practice before school as well since the PE teachers will be there to supervise. This is also a great way for us to see who is dedicated to improving.

Please click here to read on for lessons 7-12.

 

©2020 by David Cooney