Continued formative assessment for learning in PE
I have taught the grade 1 Health Related Activities unit in PE at Nanjing International School for the past 4 years. I can honestly say that although the student learning outcomes have remained the same, the learning experiences I have offered the students have changed quite a bit each year. These changes are a result of ongoing reflection in my own practice, but also driven by the learning of the students themselves.
Although learning about the respiratory and muscular systems is part of this unit, going more in-depth with the circulatory system is my main focus with the kids. I want them to be able to understand heart rate zones at varying levels of physical exertion. As well, I expect that they will be able to find their own heartbeat (pulse) and to determine how many times a minute it beats. Using a simple 6-second formula that I explained in my last blog post, I have the students calculate how many times their hearts beat in one minute.
After much practice and lots of mistakes, through inquiry I had them zoom in on the minimum and maximum range that their hearts should beat while at rest and while physically active at various levels of intensity. See the visual below to understand how I addressed patterns in heart rate.
Prior to creating this visual and designing learning activities aimed at understanding heart rate zones, I had the students explore what an active heart might sound like at various levels of physical exertion then had the students begin to make connections to actual heart rate zones. See the visual below to understand what this learning engagement looked like in my classes.
To assess where my students were at with the understanding of heart rates zones and to determine whether or not they are able to take their own heart rate, I designed a lesson that would put these important expectations to the test in a fun way. At this point, I know that some students are still struggling with these expectations, but today's class was an important step in narrowing down the focus to ensure that I can help all students be successful in this unit.
The goal of today's class was to get the students to record their own heart rate (beats per minute) 4 different times; A) when they first came into class, B) after an initial tag game, C) after doing some simple tennis activities and lastly D) after sprinting around jumping over tennis rackets and balls left on gym floor from previous activity.
Each activity lasted about 3-4 minutes with about 2 minutes transition time in between activities to record their beats per minute and the corresponding sound of their heart beats while in action.
They were super active today, definitely had some fun, and hopefully made further connections between physical activity and heart rate. Moving forward I will be able to ensure that all students are able to accurately take their own heart rate and to understand the range of heart rate zones while exercising and playing in PE. My ultimate aim is to get them to understand that there are so many different ways that we can stay active both in and out of PE class. The last part of the unit, we will dig deeper and hopefully address why exercise is good for us from a learning point of view and a fitness point of view.
Check out 3 examples of student work below.