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Rhythmic Movement and Balance: Physical Education Lesson

written by: Marlene Gundlach • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 1/5/2012

Balance and rhythm are important skills for any athlete. Introducing students to these skills through fun activities can be helpful in other aspects of physical education, as well as giving your students a feeling of self-worth and achievement.

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    • To introduce the students to rhythmic movement
    • To practice balance and control
    • To introduce physical education activities that enhance student's balance
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    • balls Balls
    • Ribbons
    • Hoops
    • Music arrangement with varying tempo
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    Be sure the students have enough room to move around freely. Before beginning the activity, introduce students to rhythmic gymnastics. It first became an Olympic event in 1984. Athletes use five types of hand apparatus and continually move while maneuvering and balancing a different object in each event.

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    Warm Up

    Set up activity stations or review with the students any dance steps they may have learned. They can do a quick jog around the gym as well.


    Students will begin by performing the dances they learned, the schottische and grapevine. Give each student a ball and have them perform movements to the music and balance the ball in their outstretched hand.

    Freeform Movement

    Students can choose a ribbon or hoop for the following activity, or hand out what you have available. Explain to students that they will freely move using their prop to enhance their movement. Depending upon space limitations, students can move about or stay in place. Play the music selection one time through for the students. Have students point out the different tempos and rhythms they hear. Then have them stand and use their prop to dance and move with the music. Encourage them to change their movements as they hear changes in the music.

    Additional Activities

    • Have students practice movements with their props without the music. They can instead respond to prompts that you call out or to a rhythm you clap.
    • Try other objects to balance such as Frisbees.

    Challenge Options

    • Have students try and balance two balls while doing the movements.
    • Have students individually or in groups make a dance or sequence of movements with their props. Encourage them to include a beginning, middle, and end.
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    Ask students which objects were easiest to manipulate and why. Also discuss how the tempo of the music affected their movement and their connection to the music and movements. Were the slower tempos easier to move with or those that were faster or more upbeat?