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Teaching the Skill Components of Fitness in Upper Primary

May 27th, 2023


Active Living - Phase 3

Conceptual Understandings

  • We can develop and maintain physical fitness by applying basic training principles.

  • Attention to technique and regular practice can improve the effectiveness of our movements.


Learning Outcomes

  • Identify ways to live a healthier lifestyle

  • demonstrate an understanding of the principles of training in developing and maintaining fitness

  • demonstrate greater body control when performing movements

  • develop plans to improve performance through technique refinement and practice

  • self-assess performance and respond to feedback on performance from others

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

Within my long-term plan

PYP 5 - Board Game Fitness Unit  (Learning exercises common to fitness)

PYP 6 - Cardiovascular Endurance (Intro to all 5 Components of Fitness with focus on running games and challenges)

PYP 7 - Skill Components of Fitness

PYP 8 - Health Components of Fitness

Unit Outline

Teaching the Skill Components of Fitness allows students to casually compete in a variety of quick challenges, play team and large group games, and make connections between these isolated challenges and real-life benefits on their sports performance and well-being. Each lesson students complete a page in their reflection booklet, looking at their knowledge of the six components, analysing strengths and weaknesses, and transferring their knowledge to other topics. The unit finishes with students creating their own skill-based challenge, based on improving their reaction time, agility, speed, coordination, power, or balance.


  1. Keeping students active, yet avoid traditional fitness activities

  2. Consistent, but quick reflection (5 minutes per class with booklet)

  3. Student agency for the summative assessment (Skill-challenge creation)

Tuning In - Lesson 1 

The lessons are based on a 50 minutes, one time a week framework. For fully detailed lesson plans and the editable reflection booklet see my TPT resource.


Students explored a variety of games and challenges including:

  • Circle Tag

  • Balance Challenges

  • Dolphin vs Shark

  • Soccer Ball Juggling


As we went along we discussed what is important to be successful in these different experiences. Students were introduced to the six Skill Components of Fitness and completed the first page of their daily reflection booklet.


Finding Out - Lessons 2, 3, and 4


Each lesson focused on learning more about two of the six Skill Components of Fitness. The lessons each include a fitness-based warmup game, and either stations, small group, or whole class games that students should connect to a specific component of fitness. An example of one of the challenges/games for each Skill Component include:


Coordination: Hoop Cone Shuttle

Power: Standing Long Jump

Agility: Hula Hoop Spin and Run

Balance: Balance Square

Reaction Time: Body Part React

Speed: Spin the Pin


The reflection booklet for these lessons had students demonstrating they understand what each component means, which sports these components are prevalent in, and recognizing how they can improve your well-being.


As students now had an understanding of what each of the six Skill Components represent, they now were cycled through 6 different stations. After completing each of the stations they had to match it with a component of fitness, and self-assess their performance. As part of the reflection booklet, students also identified there favourite stations to help my future planning of this unit. Examples of the stations include:


Balance: Yoga Pose Challenges

Speed: Figure 8 Tag

Reaction Time: Cone Dodge


Taking Action - Lessons 6 and 7


In lesson 6 students were challenged to create their own skill-based challenge. Working in small groups they were to plan out a challenge (station) that focuses on a skill component of fitness of their choosing. Students were to first design it on paper, ensure the necessary resources were available, before setting up and making sure it met their expectations and had a level of challenge to it. 


An example for “Power” created by the students was a station where you had to try and jump as high as you can and stick a piece of paper up a wall. In the last part of class, two groups were to partner up and provide feedback to each other after sharing their station.


Lesson 7 had students then sharing their skill challenge with the rest of class. Half the groups (of 2-3 students) were presenters while the other half spent 5 minutes at each station learning then attempting to use their skill component to complete the challenge. After each group had cycled through, the roles were reversed and repeated. 


Students completed the final reflection page in their booklets to wrap up the unit.


Implementing the Approaches to Learning


These two ATL skills were chosen as a focus to compliment our learner profiles, student participation in our stations and games, and as a focus for reflecting more consistently.


Social: Self Control

Thinking: Forming Decisions


For Self-Control we discussed how to demonstrate being a good winner, what to do when you get upset, and how to act when you feel wronged. I felt as the unit progressed students were celebrating others more consistently and tie-breaking or mediating disagreements more independently. 


Students practiced forming decisions through our reflections each lesson, using specific examples from the lessons to develop and defend their statements.


Learner Profiles


Reflectors: Every lesson students will answer reflection questions in their booklet, demonstrating knowledge, and recognizing their successes and areas for growth. They will transfer their experiences in each lesson to how it helps their overall well-being.

Principled: While playing games, competing in challenges, we will look at why it is important to play by the rules, not take shortcuts in fitness, and celebrate successes and support other’s struggles with grace and positivity.

Teacher Reflection


Looking at the three goals I set for myself, I have been quite happy both times I have taught this unit the past couple of years. Students were engaged in the stations and small games throughout the lesson, wanting to try again and improve. The reflections were done with good detail, not taking up too much time but clearly assessing students understanding of the 6 Skill Components of Fitness.


WannateachPE and the PE Twitter community in general is a great resource that helped move my teaching away from traditional relays, lap running and outdated fitness experiences, to one’s students are excited to try and push themselves in.


The students created skill challenges were fun to try myself and students creativity was awesome to see. There is a couple of challenges I would not hesitate to include in next years planning when looking at certain skill components. It was the right amount of challenge for a group of 2-3 students.

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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