Two Creative Middle School PE Activities: Dance & an Obstacle Course

Two Creative Middle School PE Activities: Dance & an Obstacle Course
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Middle School students' bodies are changing rapidly. Some students appear more like adults while others are slower to develop. These physical developments are only one part of their over all changing body. These changes will effect the students physical capabilities and the variants will create a wide gap in abilities.

Assessing each student to the best of your ability will make planning and grading an easier task. Limited information may be available, so early plans should focus on creating these evaluations. Finally, keep in mind that activitiesshould take into consideration any limitations, such as physical or emotional, to set expectations.

Creative Dance

Dance is an expressive form of exercise. Incorporating arm and leg motions works on coordination while exercising multiple muscle groups. At the middle school level, dance may be a challenge for students in awkward stages of growth. Continued practice of the activity will assist in lessening clumsy or awkward movement.

Begin creation of a creative dance lesson by selecting music. A medium tempo dance song without lyrics is preferable. A steady, repeating beat will work best for the lesson. These songs are often available through on-line download sites which focus on club music.

Select five basic dance steps. These may be as simplistic as a step-rock motion or as complicated as a coaster or jazz step depending on the level of experience and physical capabilities of the students. Completely made-up movements are perfectly acceptable. The steps should all include foot and arm motions, even if the arm only holds to the side or up in the air. Give each move a name.

Start the class by teaching the five basic steps. Impress the given name of the step to the class as they are taught. Demonstrate each step and have the class repeat until each student can perform the task to a beginners level.

Turn on the music and shout out one of the learned steps. The students repeat the step until you call out for a second, then third step. Mix up the steps and speed up the changes in steps. Use all five steps in random order. As the steps change, a dance develops.

Grade the students on participation and mastery of the steps. If the student struggles, but tries without giving up, consider it an accomplished task.

Mini Boot Camp

Basic exercises, including running and jumping, benefit students of all ages. At the middle school level, getting everyone interested in completing these motions may be a challenge. By using a creative obstacle course, the exercise becomes a game.

Create an obstacle course using cones, tires, jump ropes and gym mats. Set up the course so that movement is variated between the obstacles. Begin the course with a section of cones for the students to run in between in an “S” motion. Place a jump rope at the end of the cones for the students to jump a determined amount of times. After the jumping, place a gym mat next in line for the students to Army crawl, using their arms to drag themselves. At the end of the mat, the students perform a given amount of jumping jacks. Set up the tires for a students to run through, placing a foot in each tire. At the end of the tires, have the students do a given amount of squats. Plan for the students to do a straight run back to the beginning.

Your actual obstacle course can vary, but the combination of movements is important for an overall exercise experience.

Time each person going through the course. Encourage speed. The waiting students will enjoy watching their classmates as they try to quickly jump rope and do the Army crawl.

Evaluate the students' performances by comparing times and effort observed. The only unsuccessful students are those who do not complete, or complete excessively slowly in comparison to other students at their ability level.

Whatever you select, keep it creative to keep their attention.

Photos and References

Dance Class: Every Stock Photo; familymwr

School in Your Home; Obstacle Course;