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Gymnastics in the PYP

December 21st, 2023


Identity - Phase 2

Conceptual Understandings

  • A positive attitude helps us to overcome challenges and approach problems.

  • Different challenges and situations require different strategies.


Learning Outcomes

  • Describe how personal growth has resulted in new skills and abilities.

  • Solve problems and overcome difficulties with a sense of optimism.

  • Recognize others’ perspectives and accommodate these to shape a broader view of the world.

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

Within my long-term plan

PYP 4 - Gymnastics/Dance

PYP 5 - Gymnastics

PYP 6 - Yoga

PYP 7 - Dance

PYP 8 - Parkour

Unit Outline

This gymnastics unit is focused on my experiences with PYP 5 (Grade 2) however can easily be adapted to meet the needs of older or younger learners with few modifications. With limited space and resources for gymnastics at my current school, this unit was designed to build up the fundamental skills required for this discipline. Students learn travelling, balancing, jumping, and rolling skills, all while being able to challenge themselves to enhance their skills. Station work, teacher instruction, peer demonstrations, and self-reflection all play an important role throughout this unit, as students will create their own routines as we move through the inquiry cycle.


  1. Teaching basic gymnastics skills, alongside the importance of safety and technique

  2. Students improving their planning and performance skills

  3. Seeing students intrinsically motivated to challenge themselves

I also use BC learning outcomes to guide my units, however I focus on the IB in this post.

Tuning In and Finding Out - Lesson 1 to 3

The lessons are based on a 50 minutes, one time a week framework. For more detail on links to the games, or a description, and the reflection booklet, please see my TPT resource.


I found when thinking about the design of this unit, that the Tuning In and Finding Out stages of the inquiry cycle were strongly intertwined when I visualized my goals. With students commonly entering at different stages of proficiency, it was important students could learn about the basics of gymnastics while also being able learn more about how they can master the techniques.


All lessons would start with a warmup game, fun youtube video to follow along to, and/or a stretching routine.

Lesson 1: Travelling and Balance

  • Students would learn how to move certain ways across the space, as well as perform increasingly difficult single balances, and partner balances.

Lesson 2: Balance and Jumping

  • Reviewing single and partner balances before focusing on moving across the balance beams. Students will also explore safe landings, jumping from mini trampolines and a raised platform (2 foot high stage)

Lesson 3: Rolls

  • Students will warm-up with learning and performing the log roll across multiple mats. Then we will learn the forward roll, with those who have demonstrated proficiency moving onto the backward roll.

Going Further - Lesson 4


In this sole lesson I would place in the Going Further stage of the inquiry cycle, challenge was the major focus. Students worked through stations of the major skills we had learned so far. They were asked to find ways to challenge themselves at each station, doing so in a safe manner.


Station 1: Rolling (forward and backward)

Station 2: Balance Beam

Station 3: Single Balances

Station 4: Jumping off Stage or Trampoline into landing

Station 5: Partner Balances


Students spent the last part of this lesson creating a formative gymnastics routine using 3 skills from the stations they went through. They filled out a brief planning sheet then performed it to the class. 

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Taking Action - Lessons 5 to 7


The last 3 lessons of this unit had students focusing on their summative gymnastics routine that they would complete with a partner. Reflecting on the formative assessment plan, students aimed to build on the experience, creating a routine that used five skills learned in the unit.


Single Balance -> Jump -> Balance Beam -> Roll -> Partner Balance


Lesson 5 had the aim of getting students to plan the first 3 movements and being able to perform them, reflecting on their initial performance going into lesson 6.


In lesson 6, students finished their plan, practiced being in sync with the other partner, and did a dress rehearsal with their classmates.


In lesson 7, students had an opportunity to practice their routine for a final time, before performing it to the class and other PYP classes that were invited to watch. When not performing students peer evaluated other groups, recognizing their successes and an area of improvement.

Implementing the Approaches to Learning


Social: Make fair and equitable decisions


Throughout the unit students will be working in pairs, small groups in stations, and sharing space in large group games and challenges. Discussions and self-reflection will take place on how each student can be fair to others and how to work through having different ideas.


Self-Management: Demonstrate perseverance and persistence


As students learn and review the proper techniques for jumping, rolling, balance beam movements and travelling they may encounter challenges and difficulties. We will explore strategies for overcoming obstacles and not giving up when unable to perform a skill.


Learner Profiles


Communicators: An emphasis when working in stations and linked to the ATL skill of “Make fair and equitable decisions. Students will be encouraged to share ideas and work through problems constructively and clearly. They will also need to communicate effectively when writing/drawing out their formative and summative routine plans.


Balanced: Exploring the many definitions of balance from actually balancing like on a beam or with your body, to the importance of being balanced when performing in this unit. With challenge and safety both being major themes, we will look at how we can challenge ourselves while still minimizing risk.

Teacher Reflection


Despite having limited equipment this unit is usually received well with lower PYP students. Ensuring there is an opportunity for students to challenge themselves is essential as those with outside gymnastics experience can get bored of slow-paced, boring skills. 


Students tend to rush their planning in the formative assessment and this leads to a good opportunity to discuss how to plan more effectively for the summative assessment routine. 


Having a projector where you teach gymnastics enhances the unit as there is a wealth of YouTube videos that encourage movement, balance and generally fun warmups. Students consistently request to do a video they have done in years prior when we are inside our hall. 


Thoughts, questions, concerns? Let me know on twitter @tannernickel, I am always looking for ideas and ways to improve my inquiry teaching.

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