By Dr. Robert Pangrazi, Human Kinetics Author, Professor Emeritus ASU
Games are a laboratory where children can apply physical skills in a game setting. Through games, children can experience success and accomplishment. They can develop interpersonal skills, understand rules and limitations, and learn how to behave in various competitive and cooperative situations. Many games help develop large-muscle groups and enhance the child’s ability to run, dodge, start, and stop under control while sharing space with others. By applying strategy in games, children learn the importance of alertness and the mental aspect of participation. Eliminate or modify games that involve only a few children, allow some children to dominate, or offer little opportunity for skill development. Offer children the opportunity to create and modify games to meet their needs. (An excerpt taken from Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children-19th Edition.)
Lead-up Activity Modifications
Lead-up activities are offered in all of the lesson plans below (including hockey, which is the Lesson Focus of Grades 3 - 8). The purpose of lead-up activities is to isolate one or two skills and simplify the rules, enabling students to find immediate success. When you think about it, all sport activities were designed for adults. If they are not modified to meet the physical and emotional capabilities of youth, many will drop out after experiencing failure. There are many things that can be changed to create more success and offer the joy of participation for all students.
Here are some modifications that apply to all lead-up activities that you can implement to create a joyful environment for all students:
- Change the boundaries of the game to accommodate the number of players and the distance they must run.
- Modify the number of players on a team. In most cases, the lower the number of players, the more opportunities to handle the implements and be a contributing member to the team.
- Restrict the movement of players. For example, in basketball or soccer, if you allow students to move throughout the area, the game will turn into a game of “swarm the ball.” This makes it impossible to make passes and learn passing skills. Some lead-up games intentionally restrict students to lanes. Players still get plenty of opportunity to move and participate, but it keeps them spread out in the movement area.
- Change the rules. Require a certain number of passes before trying to score or limit the number of dribbles. Any rule can be changed if it improves the chance for student satisfaction and success.
- Change the makeup of teams often. No student wants to be on a losing team or with the same teammates all the time. Physical education is a great time for students to socialize. Give them an opportunity to play with all their peers.
Bob Pangrazi, PhD, taught for 31 years at Arizona State University in the department of exercise science and physical education and is now a professor emeritus. He is a best-selling author of numerous books and texts over the years, including multiple editions of Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children. This text is made even more practical in release of the 19th edition with the free interactive website Dynamic PE ASAP.