Sunday, October 16, 2011

Incorporating Other Subjects into Physical Education

I recently started reading a book called The Physics of Superheroes and it got me thinking about how hard subjects can be made much more tolerable if you relate them to things that you're more interested in. I've always liked physics anyway, but it got me thinking about how we, as Physical Education teachers, could use our class to teach more than just throwing and catching.

A lot of the time, learning is paired with movement for younger students. Elementary schools are full of movement activities designed to help reinforce what the students are learning in class (counting, colors, etc.). The problem is that when you get to the higher levels of learning (i.e. high school), physical education class becomes all about playing sports all year long and other classes are restricted to the classroom. This form of PE caters to the more athletic students (because I've been watching 80's movies all day, we'll call these students "jocks"). On the other hand, you have students who like classes such as physics and math, who may not like PE (to stick with our theme, we'll call these students "nerds". I don't mean this in any derogatory way at all, seeing as I used to be a nerd myself) So here you have two groups of students, the jocks and the nerds. Jocks love PE and hate physics, and nerds love physics and hate PE. How can we try to get both of these students involved in a class that they hate? What if we paired the classes together? We could use PE to teach physics. This would help the jocks care more about physics, and would get the nerds to care more about physical education.
An example of an activity that we could do in a class like this would be having students throw a ball as far as they can and measuring it. We can than use this measurement to figure out how fast the students threw the ball.
This is the simplest example that I could think of and is very easy to set up and to actually do in a physical education setting. You could of course think of more complex activities in order to teach more complex ideas. And of course, this example only relates to physics, you could incorporate any other subject into PE if you're creative enough.