A Comprehensive List: What Every High School Student Should Learn from PE

As PE teachers, we can all agree we want our students to be physically active each day.  That’s the easy part.  The hard part is teaching them the “Why” and teaching them the importance of physical education.  Why do we want them to be active? Why do we fitness test? Why do we give them exams?  Everything we teach and everything we test portrays what we value as a teacher.  Explaining the long term benefits of activities, lessons, tests and so forth, I believe, will paint a much clearer picture for our students.

I assess the students throughout the semester to teach the importance of physical education using these three areas:

  1. Cognitive
  2. Analysis/Critical Thinking
  3. Fitness

Cognitive Assessment

Design Personal Workout Plan

Why? I want the students to be able to design their own program based on their current fitness levels in order to achieve positive results as an adult.  I also want them to be comfortable going to any health club, wt. room or fitness class.

Workout Plan

PowerPoint Presentations

Why? I would like my students to one, be comfortable using technology to create presentations and two, to be able to use what was previously taught to create a presentation to share with their peers.  This helps me check for understanding as well as tap into their critical thinking skills.

Study Guide/Review for Exams

Why? I want the students to be adequately prepared for their exams and quizzes in order to score well on their tests to hopefully retain the knowledge learned.

Waist to Hip Ratio Formula

Why? The WHR has been used as an indicator or measure of health, and the risk of developing serious health conditions.

Target Heart Rate Formula

Why? One way of monitoring physical activity intensity is to determine whether a person’s pulse or heart rate is within the target zone during physical activity.

Body Mass Index Formula

Why? This number is commonly used to judge whether your weight is healthy—or whether extra weight increases your risk for health problems, such as cancer.

Article Summary Writing

Why?  This teaches the students how to be proactive with their fitness by teaching them how to find, analyze and summarize different fitness topics.

Fitness for Life Lessons

Why? The various lessons in this text book will give the students basic fitness knowledge they will need to prepare them to be successful active adults.

Nutrition and Wellness Lessons

Why? I want the students to know that a healthy person is one who can successfully balance diet, exercise, stress, sleep etc… The strategies learned will allow them to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Analysis/Critical Thinking

Quiz 1 (Basic Exercise Physiology).

Why? If you know about how the body works, you will be able to effectively design your own workouts to reach the maximum benefits.

Quiz 2  (Muscle/Exercise Exam).

Why? In order to know what to do and/or follow a plan in a weight room, health club, or home, you need to know the names and locations of the muscles and which exercises target each muscle.

Quiz 3  (Diet and Nutrition)

Why? Childhood is an important time to establish healthy eating patterns. The better the students eat, the better they will feel and they will reduce their risks of some diseases.

Final Exam (Cumulative)

Why? To check for understanding and reiterate what was previously taught.

Fitness Assessment

In my opinion, fitness testing should always be personal, never used for a grade and most importantly, be used as a resource to help students understand how healthy they are in order to learn how to set goals to improve their health-related fitness.

Pedometer Data Collection (done daily for personal use only checking PA, MVPA, Steps)

Why? Wearing a pedometer is designed to help you become more active, eat a more well-rounded diet, sleep better and ultimately, turn you into a healthier human being. Wearing a pedometer will  make you aware of your fitness activity. It is a great health check tool for your fitness goals.

FitnessGram™ Fitness Testing (done privately at the beginning and end of each semester for personal use only)

Why?  FitnessGram® provides students, teachers, parents and administrators the standards and awareness of fitness levels needed for good health. This information is critical to making positive, healthy changes.

Body Measurements (done monthly for personal use only)

Why? The scale measures everything—every sip of water, every bite of food, your bones, muscles, organs, fat. There’s no way to distinguish between what you’re gaining (which could just be water) or losing (which, again, could be water).That’s where body measurements come in. Taking your measurements is a better way to track progress because you get an idea of what’s really happening with your body.

Target Heart Rate Assessment (done before, during and after most workouts)

Why? While working out,  monitoring physical activity intensity determines whether a person’s pulse or heart rate is within the target zone during physical activity. This will help you decide if you need to increase or decrease intensity.

Physical Educator at Mesa High School 1994-Present Former Physical Educator at Arizona State University-Polytechnic Campus 2005-Present Arizona Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year 2005 NASPE Southwest District High School Teacher of the Year 2005 Creator of a cutting-edge fitness program and the Mesa High Elite Fitness Club Coached varsity volleyball, track, cheerleading and strength and conditioning at Mesa High School

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